Children at risk of rickets due to lack of Vitamin D

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Health experts call for low-cost supplements and the fortification of foods with vitamin D amid health fears for children with doctors fearing a return of the 19th century disease rickets as the number of children suffering from vitamin D deficiencies increases.

There has been a four-fold increase in the bone disease – which has been relatively uncommon in the UK since the 19th century – during the past 15 years. Without wishing to appear racist the fact is that many of the children affected come from ethnic minorities where kids, especially girls, are covered head to toe, almost.

Another reason for the return of rickets from lack of Vitamin D intake is that it is not called for nothing the “Sunshine Vitamin”. It is the lack of outdoors activities for our kids nowadays that results in the lack of Vitamin D; they spend far too much time indoors.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said poor intake of vitamin D is also resulting in higher incidences of diabetes, tuberculosis and multiple sclerosis.

Doctors have called for widely available and low-cost supplements and the fortification of foods with vitamin D to stem the problem across the UK.

Professor Mitch Blair, officer for health promotion at the RCPCH, said: "We know vitamin D deficiency is a growing problem – and localised research reveals startlingly high levels of vitamin deficiency amongst certain groups including children.

"People can only get a fraction (10%) of their recommended daily amount of vitamin D through food and very little from sunlight.

"So getting out in the sun more or eating more oily fish isn't going to solve the problem.

"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."

I hate to say this but it would appear that those men in white coats advocating the use of supplements seem to have a vested interest and especially when they claim that we can't get (enough) Vitamin D from sunlight. Duh?

As already said, Vitamin D is also referred to as the Sunshine vitamin, and there is good reason for that, regardless of what Professor Mitch Blair of the RCPCH reckons.

Although it it important to keep safe in strong sunshine by using sunscreen and covering up, the body does need us to get sunlight to help it make important vitamins like vitamin D.

People who have darker skin are less likely to get sunburnt but they need more sunlight to make vitamin D than people with lighter skin.

People who have to stay indoors or need to keep themselves covered up when they go outside might need to take vitamin D as a supplement to keep them healthy.

Vitamin D comes mainly from being out in the sun but is in some foods as well such as oily fish, such as salmon and sardines, and eggs.

I am even prepared to go out on a limb here, as I so often do, and would suggest that children should spend as much time outdoors as possible and when and where possible should do so naked or almost naked.

© 2013