Rates of vitamin D deficiency on the rise

Thanks to the Clean Air Act of 1956 and the availability of supplements such as cod liver oil, rates of rickets began to decline in the UK from the 1950s but doctors are now finding that this trend has stopped. Dr Benjamin Jacobs, a Consultant at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, has informed the BBC that severe cases of rickets are treated at the hospital approximately once a month.

The increasing diagnosis of rickets alongside less severe problems such as muscle weakness and bone pains suggest that children in many parts of the country have an insufficient level of vitamin D. Under government guidelines, children under the age of five should be taking daily vitamin D supplements. The main source of vitamin D is from sunlight but it can also be found in fortified foods such as breakfast cereals as well as oily fish; in the UK the main source of vitamin D is now supplements.

If you are unsure of whether you should be taking vitamin D supplements and whether your vitamin levels are high enough please click here for advice.

The process of determining which condition a patient may have. Full medical glossary
A large abdominal organ that has many important roles including the production of bile and clotting factors, detoxification, and the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Full medical glossary
Tissue made up of cells that can contract to bring about movement. Full medical glossary
A disease caused by nutritional deficiency that causes bone deformities in childhood. The most common cause is vitamin D deficiency. Full medical glossary
Essential substances that cannot be produced by the body and so must be acquired from the diet. Full medical glossary