Subclinical vitamin A deficiency in Israeli-Bedouin toddlers

C. L. Coles, A. Levy, R. Gorodischer, R. Dagan, R. J. Deckelbaum, W. S. Blaner, D. Fraser

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    12 Scopus citations


    Objective: This study was designed to estimate the prevalence of and evaluate risk factors for subclinical vitamin A deficiency in Arab-Bedouin children at age 18 months, followed from birth. Design: Community-based, prospective, cohort study conducted in Rahat, a large Arab-Bedouin township, located near the city of Beer Sheva in the Negev region of southern Israel. Subjects: Healthy Bedouin infants (n=117) from the township, born at Soroka University Medical Center (SUMC) in Beer Sheva, were randomly recruited at birth. Enrollment was restricted to well infants born weighing >2500 g at birth. Results: More than 15% of the children had serum retinol concentrations below 0.7 μmol/l. Male sex (odds ratio (OR) 4.17 [1.14-15.32], P=0.031), stunting at age 12 months (OR 10.09 [2.00-50.97], P=0.05) and warm season at age 18 months (OR 6.20 [1.36-28.28], P=0.018) were associated with vitamin A deficiency. Maternal education decreased the risk of vitamin A deficiency (OR 0.81 [0.68-0.95], P=0.011). Conclusions: Study results indicate a significant vitamin A deficiency problem among Bedouin children. Deficiency may be prevented by increasing dietary intake of vitamin A, especially during the warm season. Other interventions include preventing and controlling diarrheal diseases in order to avert nutritional stunting, and providing nutritional education to women of childbearing age.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)796-802
    Number of pages7
    JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 1 May 2004


    • Bedouin
    • Children
    • Israel
    • Risk factors
    • Vitamin A deficiency


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