Aims: This survey aimed to identify nutritional deficits affecting Bedouin children as they enter school age and illustrate their families’ dietary consumption patterns. Methods: 560 healthy schoolchildren aged 5.5–10 years from 8 Badia hamlets were nutritionally investigated by applying anthropometric, laboratory and dietary assessment methods. Results: Mean and median serum retinol concentrations (SRCs) were 228 and 218 μg/l, respectively. Mean prevalence of nutritional deficits among children were stunting (23.4%), anemia (57.5%), vitamin A deficiency (29.5%), iron deficiency (28.4%), and vitamin E deficiency (17.1%). Including those with borderline values, the proportion of children vulnerable to VAD threats reached 90%. Compared to normal subjects, anemic children had lower SRC (207 vs. 233 μg/l; p < 0.001) and ferritin (9.6 vs. 11.3 μg/l; p < 0.001) levels; stunted children had lower serum vitamin E (6.5 vs. 7.3 mg/l; p < 0.001) and ferritin (10.3 vs. 11.1 μg/l; p < 0.001) levels; vitamin A-deficient children had lower hemoglobin (11.3 vs. 11.8 g/dl; p < 0.001), serum vitamin E (6.69 vs. 7.23 mg/l; p < 0.01), and serum ferritin (10.4 vs. 11.2 μg/l; p < 0.001) levels, and vitamin E-deficient subjects had lower SRC levels (206 vs. 232 μg/l; p < 0.001). Except for hemoglobin status, no significant differences between genders were detected. SRC correlated strongly with hemoglobin, vitamin E, BMI and serum ferritin. The frequency of consumption of meat and fats seemed to be among the determinants of SRC and hemoglobin values. Conclusion: Urbanization has brought Bedouins towards poverty and undernutrition, with older children suffering more severe consequences in comparison with preschool-age children. This multifaceted nutritional problem requires implementation of multicomponent interventions.

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