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The Old-Timey Disease Rickets Is Back in England

Rickets—which is caused by a vitamin D deficiency—is being seen across England. Do they need more sun?


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The Los Angeles Times reports today that rickets is back in England. Rickets as defined by The World Health Organization is a disease that stems from a Vitamin D deficiency. It used to stalk the poverty-stricken slums of 19th century England and has reappeared in modern Britain. Despite the fact that Vitamin D deficiency is a known cause of the disease, rickets still appears in children who grow up in very sunny countries.

Dr. Nicholas Bishop of the University of Sheffield developed another theory reporting that rickets is cause by a calcium deficiency shortly after a child is weaned.

If there is to be progress in preventing rickets…then mothers need to be encouraged to breastfeed for at least 18 months, and calcium from a cheap, locally available source must be incorporated into the diet.

Children in countries that are raised with foods lacking calcium and who were weaned early are then more susceptible to coming down with the disease. The LA Times report suggests an odd coincidence to the occurrence of rickets in the U.K.,

There are no official figures, but doctors around the country say a number of cases have sprung up in recent years. Last year the British Medical Journal published findings of the spread of the disease in the United Kingdom, quoting a survey showing "more than 50% of the adult population have insufficient levels of vitamin D and that 16% have severe deficiency during winter and spring.”

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Based on these results it would appear that the British National Health Service, needs a public health plan that sends Brits to Spain during the long and dark British winters.


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