UK & World News
Kids At Risk Of Rickets Due To Lack Of Vitamin D
Doctors fear 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.
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."
The RCPCH said there needed to be a greater knowledge among healthcare professionals and better public awareness about vitamin D-related disease.
Vitamin D deficiency is thought to affect a quarter of children across the UK.
:: Rickets is a softening of bones in children due to deficiency or impaired metabolism of vitamin D, phosphorus or calcium, potentially leading to fractures and deformity.