Friday, 22 January 2010
Rickets is a condition associated with poverty and poor diet. Children's bones soften and do not grow properly and the most obvious consequence is that the legs become bowed and painful. Dental deformities and muscle weakness are also common. It was prevalent among the poor of nineteenth century Great Britain and is one of the diseases most frequently seen in children in developing countries.
It arises from a lack of Vitamin D, most easily obtained from ultraviolet in sunlight but also present in oily fish, eggs, margarine, butter and fish liver oils. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium.
The shocking news is that doctors in GB are seeing a rise in cases of rickets. Medical experts believe that modern diets often lack Vitamin D and this, coupled with many children's more sedentary lifestyles, is contributing to an increase in this condition. (Another disease linked to poverty and poor nutrition and believed to have been almost eradicated is tuberculosis.)
It is hard to believe that this is happening in this affluent 21st century western country.