Paper Type

Master's Thesis


Brooks College of Health

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition & Dietetics

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Nutrition & Dietetics

First Advisor

Dr. Zhiping Yu

Second Advisor

Dr. Kristen Roof

Third Advisor

Dr. Judith Rodriguez

Department Chair

Dr. Lauri Wright

College Dean

Dr. Curt Lox


Objectives: Fruits and vegetables (FV) play an important role in people’s health. The current study aimed analyzed if specific colors of FV are associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) risk in the United States (US) Hispanic/Latino population.

Methods: This study used participants from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL). It is a multi-center, prospective cohort study with 5,740 self-identified Hispanic/Latino individuals from 2008-2011. Data collected include anthropometrics, oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), dietary intake, medical history, physical activity, and sociodemographic information. FV are categorized into five color groups: green, white, yellow/orange, red/purple, and uncategorized.

Results: A total 5,740 participants (ages 18-74, BMI 29.5, female 55.2%, US born 21.4%, confirmed DM 13.6%) were included in the analysis. Across all heritage groups (Dominican, Central American, Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South American, Other/Mixed), the red/purple FV were the least consumed. Higher intake of red/purple FV is associated with lower body mass index (BMI), lower insulin level and higher high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. Excluding the uncategorized group, white FV had the highest consumption across all groups. Puerto Ricans consume the least FV compared to other heritage groups. A higher intake of white FV is associated with a higher OGTT glucose and triglyceride levels. Consumption of a higher amount of white FV daily has higher odds of having DM (OR=1.25, p=0.03).

Conclusions: Consuming more white FV may increase odds of having DM. Consuming more red/purple FV may decrease biomarkers associated with DM. Education should focus on varying fruit and vegetable intake and identify causes of low fruit and vegetable intake in Hispanic/Latino groups living in the US.