Sunday, November 14, 2010
Sunscreen and rickets
Middle class children in the south of England are suffering from the '17th century disease' rickets as parents cover them in sunscreen and limit time outside in the sunshine. The disease, caused by low levels of vitamin D generated in the body from sunshine and certain foods, had died out around 80 years ago but is now coming back. Cases of rickets in children have occurred in northern England and Scotland where there are fewer months of the year with sufficient sunshine to obtain enough vitamin D but now doctors are seeing it on the South coast as well. It is thought extensive use of sunscreen, children playing more time on computer games and TV rather than playing outside and a poor diet are to blame. Vitamin D is found in oily fish and eggs, cereals and milk can be fortified with it. The vitamin is vital for the absorption of calcium needed for strong bones and teeth.