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Vitamin D deficiency and the rise of rickets

Recent press reports say that cases of rickets have gone up four-fold in the last 15 years (rickets is a disease that causes the bones to become soft and deformed). The increase of this disease is because of many pregnant women and young children are not getting enough of the sunshine vitamin.

The number of rickets cases has risen from 183 in 1995/6 to 762 last year. Experts say to help with the deficiency; eating a daily dose of oily fish and trying to get some winter sunshine are a good way of helping to combat the deficiencies. Failing that multivitamins are another good way of helping with vitamin deficiencies (vitamins are to be taken with a balanced diet). Vitamin D deficiency is expected to affect at least half of the UK’s white population, up to 90% of multi-ethnic population and a quarter of children.

Professor Mitch Blair of the RCPCH said ‘We know vitamin D deficiency is a growing problem, and localised research reveals startling high levels of vitamin deficiency amongst certain groups including children.’
He continues to say that ‘lack of vitamin D is related to a plethora of serious illnesses in children and adults that could be prevented through relatively simple steps such as taking supplements.’

Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to bone disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, and asthma to name a few.

The government advises pregnant or breast feeding women and the over 65’s should take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D. The UK Government’s Chief Medical Officer recommends all infants and young children aged 6 months to 5 years take a daily supplement in the form of vitamin D drops, containing 7 to 8.5 micrograms of Vitamin D.

Last updated: 24-12-2012