Using the veggie meter in elementary schools to objectively measure fruit and vegetable intake: A pilot study

Sarah Martinelli, Francesco Acciai, Natasha Tasevska, Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Self-reported fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption in children has limitations that could be overcome with objective measures that are easy to implement. The Veggie Meter (VM) is a non-invasive portable device that measures skin carotenoid levels, a concentration biomarker of usual FV intake. While VM has been used to measure FV consumption in adults, few studies have explored its use in elementary school settings. Designing research studies using the VM with elementary school-age children requires an understanding of how well this device can be used in a school setting and of the distribution of VM scores in this population. We used VM to measure skin carotenoids in a diverse sample of 143 elementary school children who also answered commonly asked questions about consumption frequency of FV the previous day. Multivariable regression was used to assess the independent association of demographic variables with VM scores. VM scores were also compared with student-reported FV intake. There was a weak but statistically significant correlation between reported frequency of total vegetable consumption the previous day and observed VM scores (r = 0.174, p = 0.042). This study provides an example of the successful use of the VM in a school setting to collect an objective measure of FV intake and provides important description of data that can inform future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
JournalMethods and Protocols
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Diet assessment
  • Elementary school children
  • Fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Skin carotenoids
  • Veggie Meter©

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Using the veggie meter in elementary schools to objectively measure fruit and vegetable intake: A pilot study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this