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Tripling in children suffering Vitamin D deficiency in 4yrs
« on: 21 October 2014 »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/laura-donnelly/11175544/Tripling-in-children-suffering-Vitamin-D-deficiency.html

Quote
New figures show the number of children in hospital suffering from Vitamin D deficiency have tripled in four years, as experts say parents should ensure young children take a supplement daily a

 Parents should consider vitamin D supplements for their children as the number suffering from deficiency and risking rickets has almost tripled in four years, experts say.

Official figures show that 4,638 children admitted to NHS hospitals in 2013/14 were found to be suffering a Vitamin D deficiency, compared with 1,398 cases in 2009/10.

Shortages of the vitamin can cause rickets in children and increase the risk of osteoporosis and cancers in adults.

Children’s doctors said the statistics were “very worrying” and said parents should consider giving daily supplements.

Experts said some of the problems were likely to be linked to indoor lifestyles, with children spending too much time on computers and gaming consoles during summer, and being left with low stocks of vitamin D when winter arrives.



In the UK, sunlight between November and March is short of ultraviolet B radiation, meaning stocks from the body’s stores and food sources.

Earlier this year, guidance from the National Institute for Health and care Excellence (Nice) said one in five Britons may now be deficient.

Experts said some of the recent rise could be attributed to increased testing of Vitamin D levels among those admitted to hospitals for other reasons.

But they said they were concerned that many people were not aware of the importance of the vitamin, and the risks caused by deficiencies.

Last year the chief medical officer for England said every child in the country should be given free vitamins by the NHS in order to stave off the return of rickets.

The bone-deforming disease - which was rife in the Victorian era - had been virtually wiped out, but has returned and risen five-fold in the past 15 years, figures show.

As well as causing brittle bones, bow legs and other deformities, deficiencies of vitamin D can be fatal, causing a type of heart failure.

A survey of 250 GPs and health visitors commissioned by the Vitamin D Mission, a public health awareness campaign, found almost one third were not aware of Government advice that those aged between six months and five years should take a daily supplement, especially during winter.

Dr Benjamin Jacobs, consultant paediatrician at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, said: “These findings are very worrying as they seem to suggest that parents in the UK are still not properly informed of the major health issues associated with low levels of vitamin D.”

Vitamin D can be found in oily fish, egg yolk, red meat and some fortified foods, but sunlight is its major source.

One in five UK adults have a low vitamin D status - meaning they have less than 25 nmol/litre of the active form of vitamin D in their body.

The deficiency can occur at any age but is more likely during periods of rapid growth, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

Earlier this year, Nice guidance warned that the elderly are also at high risk, especially those in care homes and those who are housebound, or confined to home much of the time.
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