However, recent research has shown that nearly three quarters of parents and more than half of health advisors are unaware of these recommendations on Vitamin D.
Consultant paediatrician Dr Benjamin Jacobs, from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital highlighted the fact that not only was there about one severe case a month of rickets, but also many other, less severe problems. These include muscle weakness, delay in walking and bone pains emphasising the fact that in many parts of the country the majority of children have a low level of vitamin D.
Chief medical officer for the UK, Dame Sally Davies says: ‘we know a significant proportion of people in the UK probably have inadequate levels of Vitamin D in their blood.’
It is following these findings that the government have recommend that vitamin D supplements should be given to all pregnant and breastfeeding women, children aged six months to five years, people aged 65 and over and people with darker skin. They also recommend people who are not exposed to the sun very often supplement their diet. For example, people who cover up their skin for cultural reasons or who are housebound for long periods of time.
Although it has long been known that Vitamin D prevents rickets, children have not been given food supplements to combat this since the 1950s as it was thought unnecessary.
Last updated: 30-01-2012
As a result of these worrying findings, chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies will be contacting doctors, nurses and midwives to raise concerns about vitamin D.