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Rickets Returns as Chief Medical Officer Calls For Free Vitamins

October 24, 2013
Public Health

Common in Victorian times but largely thought to have disappeared in the western world, Rickets cases are once again on the increase. In a damning report on the state of children?s health in the UK, Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies said; ?we are seeing rickets again. I used to see rickets when I trained in the late Seventies, and it?s coming back again.? Dame Sally declared that the country should be ?profoundly ashamed? that childhood mortality rates in some of England?s poorest areas are three times higher than those in more affluent areas.

Rickets, which gives rise to a characteristic bow legged gait in affected children, occurs as a direct result of a lack of vitamin D. It is estimated that up to 40% of children currently have some form of vitamin D deficiency. Amongst other recommendations covering obesity rates and effective children?s mental health services, Dame Sally called on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to look at extending free vitamin supplements to all children under five. At present vitamin A, C, and D are offered to some pregnant women and children under four but these are subject to means testing. In recent years the UK has fallen behind the rest of Europe in terms of child mortality with five more children dying every day compared to Sweden which has the best record.? ?

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