Is Transition from Nomadic to Sedentary Lifestyle an Important Social Determinant of Child Health?

Natalya Bilenko, Lewis Reisman, Ilana Belmaker

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Background and Objectives:
Nomadic communities – one of the types of underprivileged populations – still lags the furthest behind in every field of progress. We were able to monitor changes in the health status of Bedouin children over a 25 year period of transition from a semi-nomadic life style to sedentarism in desert area of southern Israel.
Systematic review of articles published on the health of Bedouin children in the Negev as well as summarizing data routinely collected by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics and the Regional Medical Office of the Ministry of Health.
Among the Bedouin Arab population of the Negev Infant Mortality Rates have decreased from 30.9 per 1000 live births in 1979 to 8.5 per 1000 in 2008. A striking decrease in vaccine-preventable infectious diseases in the Bedouin population was found. The data show marked decrease in the proportion of Bedouin children who born with low birth weight from 15% in 1980–1981 to 8.9% in 2006. In 1986 the proportion of 1 year old children with short stature was 38.2% but this decreased to 19% in 1999. In 2006, 17.5% of Bedouin women were exclusively breast-feeding their infants at 6 months of age while another 61.4% were still breast-feeding with supplements. All theses changes were temporally associated with the transition of over 60% of Bedouin the population from a semi-nomadic life style to permanent settlements which was started in 1978 and is continuing up to the present.
The results have implications for the inclusion of transition from nomadism to a sedentary existence as social determinant of health which leads to improving in child health.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)S198-S198
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2009


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