A-Z of Health R – Rickets

You would be forgiven for thinking that this is a Dickensian disease the likes of which we no longer see but sadly you would be mistaken.  Although numbers are small, there is a definite increase in cases of rickets in recent years.

Rickets is a childhood disease. Historically very common and not very nice! Rickets affects bone development in children, causes bone pain, poor growth and soft, weak bones these can lead to bone deformities.  In adults the condition would be known as osteomalacia or soft bones.

How on earth is this making a comeback?

Well we have already seen under M – Malnourishment that we may well consume a lot of food but many of us are lacking in nutrients.  The key nutrients for the prevention of rickets are vitamin D and calcium.

It is always been difficult to obtain adequate levels of vitamin D in the UK, sadly there isn’t enough sunshine!!

Many food manufacturers started to fortify foods for children with vitamin D primarily cereals, however many parents have gotten wise to the fact that a fortified cereal can also contain huge quantities of sugar, could this be one of the reasons?

I feel there are a few reasons – if we just look at vitamin D – known as the sunshine vitamin because that’s where it comes from (between March and October) but how much time do children spend outside? Has the technical generation prevented children from playing outside enough thus contributing to the vitamin D deficiency?

Partly. Probably but for me the bigger issue comes back to the empty calorie, nutrient devoid food that sadly forms the basis of many a diet (child and adult alike).  We can also get vitamin D from foods but with the rise of vegan children are these foods being replaced?

  • oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • red meat
  • liver
  • egg yolks

The other nutrient linked to Rickets is of course calcium, there’s a lot of debate over the role of Dairy, I cover this in my interview with Dairy UK on my Early Years TV Food Channel where we discuss the debate over cows milk, plant based milks and alternative sources of calcium.

I work with families to investigate nutritional deficiencies and the physical symptoms which manifest with a deficiency.  Let’s try to stop these diseases making a comeback!!

About the author of this blog

Louise Mercieca is a multi award-winning author on children’s nutrition with her book ‘How Food Shapes Your Child’ winning the Parenting award in Janey Lee Grace’s Platinum awards.

The role of calcium is discussed over on my Early Years TV channel

Louise has also won a SBS or Small Business Sunday award from Theo Paphitis and was recently crowned as Queen of Child Nutrition in the #Queenof Twitter awards.

Louise has worked as a Nutritional Therapist for 8 years supporting hundreds of clients and does take on a limited number of personal coaching clients each month – contact Louise to discuss this. Louise has also created an accessible and affordable webinar schedule covering many topics discussed in this A-Z post series. https://www.louisemercieca.co.uk/webinar

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