Differences in cord serum retinol concentrations by ethnic origin in the Negev (Southern Israel)

Rafael Gorodischer, Batia Sarov, Elyahu Gazala, Eli Hershkovitz, Shimon Edwardson, David Sklan, Miriam Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Subclinical vitamin A deficiency is related to increased morbidity and mortality in infants and children. Previous studies indicate that the traditional diet of Moslem Bedouins, an important ethnic group in Southern Israel, is low in vitamin A content. Cord serum retinol (vitamin A) concentration was measured by HPLC in samples from 251 apparently healthy (birth weight > 2500 g, gestational age > 37 weeks) neonates with no abnormal perinatal events, 138 Jews and 113 Bedouins. Retinol < 15 μg/dl was measured in a total of 14% of infants: in 7% of Jewish and 26% of Bedouin newborns (P < 0.001). However, mean cord serum retinol was only slightly lower in Bedouins than in Jews (30 ± 26 vs. 37 ± 27 μg/dl mean ± S.D., n.s.). Cord serum retinol was not related to socioeconomic indices. Cord serum retinol < 15 μg/dl was measured in 25% and in 12% of infants with birth weight less than and equal or greater than 3000 g, respectively (P = 0.01), and in 28% and 13% of infants with gestational age 37-38 weeks and 39-41 weeks, respectively (P = 0.03). Low cord serum retinol was found to be prevalent in Southern Israel, particularly in Bedouin infants. In the population of healthy neonates studied, very low cord serum retinol concentrations were found more frequently in infants born with a lower weight and/or after a shorter gestation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 21 Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Neonatal nutrition
  • Retinol
  • Vitamin A status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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