In marginally nourished children, information is scarce regarding the circulating concentrations of carotenoids and tocopherols, and physiological factors influencing their circulating levels. We determined the serum concentrations of carotenoids, tocopherols and retinol at steady state and in response to a 9-week vegetable diet intervention in 9-12-year-old girls (n=54) and boys (n=65) in rural Philippines. We determined cross-sectional relationships of BMI (body mass index) with serum micronutrient levels, and whether BMI is a determinant of serum carotenoid responses to the ingestion of carotenoid-rich vegetables. We measured dietary nutrient intakes and assessed inflammation by measurement of serum C-reactive protein levels. The children had low serum concentrations of carotenoids, tocopherols and retinol as compared with published values for similar-aged children in the U.S.A. The low serum retinol levels can be ascribed to inadequate diets and were not the result of confounding due to inflammation. Significant inverse correlations of BMI and serum all-trans-beta-carotene, 13-cis-beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and alpha-tocopherol (but not beta-cryptoxanthin, lycopene and retinol) were observed among girls at baseline. The dietary intervention markedly enhanced the serum concentrations of all carotenoids. Changes in serum all-trans-beta-carotene and alpha-carotene (but not changes in lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin) in response to the dietary intervention were inversely associated with BMI in girls and boys. Thus, in Filipino school-aged children, BMI is inversely related to the steady-state serum concentrations of certain carotenoids and vitamin E, but not vitamin A, and is a determinant of serum beta- and alpha-carotene responses, but not xanthophyll responses, to the ingestion of carotenoid-rich vegetable meals.