Aims: The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to assess growth and nutritional status of Bedouin preschool children with special focus on the extent of the interaction of anemia with iron deficiency and vitamin A deficiency as possible underlying factors. Methods: Subjects aged 6–66 months were included by recruitment of 262 mothers having either an infant or a preschool child. Nutritional assessment by anthropometric, laboratory and dietary methods was carried out, with anthropometric indices expressed in z-score units. Serum retinol concentration, α-tocopherol, ferritin and blood hemoglobin and hematocrit were assessed. Results: Stunting, vitamin A deficiency, anemia, and iron deficiency were prevalent at rates of 21.1, 25.2, 57.3, and 20.2%, respectively. Mean serum retinol concentration was 249 ± 64 μg/l. More than 50% of the children were at risk of vitamin A deficiency. Compared to others, subjects with vitamin A deficiency tended to have lower hemoglobin (10.0 ± 1.9 vs. 10.95 ± 1.99 g/dl, p < 0.001) and lower serum ferritin concentrations (9.2 ± 3.4 vs. 16.3 ± 6.2 μg/l, p < 0.001). Serum retinol concentration correlated with hemoglobin (r = 0.41, p < 0.001) and ferritin (r = 0.42, p < 0.001). No gender differences were found. Conclusions: Bedouin preschool children are at risk for anemia, iron deficiency, nonocular vitamin A deficiency and stunting. Vitamin A deficiency exacerbates the development of anemia and iron deficiency among children. Urbanization has led Bedouins to the verge of poverty. They have been losing their characteristic lifestyle as traditional livestock keepers, with their children deprived of milk to drink or meat to eat. Coordinated interventional actions by the socioeconomic development planners and decision makers are needed.

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