Too Much Time Inside Puts Kids At Risk For Rickets

Rickets, a disorder caused by a lack of Vitamin D, calcium, or phosphate, was notorious for causing bone deformities among the poorest children in 17th century England.

Once doctors and scientists figured out that it only took a healthy dose of Vitamin D (gained through exposure to sunlight) to counteract this disorder, and this nutrient was added to many common foods in the 1940′s, rickets was considered cured.

Unfortunately, the sedentary lifestyle embraced by many children and teenagers these days has caused a resurgence of this avoidable disease.

BBC News reports that, in the UK, “rickets is making a comeback. More than 20% of children tested for bone problems at Southampton General Hospital have showed signs of the crippling disease.”

Professor Nicholas Clarke and his colleagues at Southampton’s Children’s Orthopaedic Unit say they are “astonished” at the increase in admissions of children with the condition.

“This is quite unbelievable – in a part of the country with more sunshine than anywhere else – it is honestly shocking” he told BBC.

“It’s not about poverty or ethnicity, its simply about the reduction in exposure to sunlight,” Clarke said.

Vitamin D is absorbed from food or produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight, and helps the body control calcium and phosphate levels. If the blood levels of these minerals become too low, the body may produce hormones that cause calcium and phosphate to be released from the bones. This leads to weak and soft bones (PubMedHealth).

According to SunshineVitamin.org, “Humans make 90 percent of our vitamin D naturally from sunlight exposure to our skin – specifically, from ultraviolet B exposure to the skin, which naturally initiates the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3.”

Avoiding a lack of Vitamin D in the diet is essential for health and energy, in both children and adults. Use the resources below to reduce the risk of rickets for yourself and your family:

3 Ways To Get Vitamin D When The Sun Is Hiding

Could A Lack Of Vitamin D Lead To Childhood Obesity?

Are Vitamin D Supplements Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Image Credit: Flickr - Jerine

94 comments

colleen p.
colleen p5 years ago

one thing nobody may of mentioned yet, is (when they are older) harm children can do to the rest.
not every child is "good".
some kids may harass others(even younger than them) break into houses, and vandalize.
but it is good if 14 year olds drink in the woods, throw a rock at a window and make a 10 year old cry.

or is this about getting 6 year olds outside?

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colleen p.
colleen p5 years ago

are there ever cases and places where some can't get outside? or, don't and cannot over hyperbole of being unsafe.
I don't know what it's like living in one of those super huge cities.
so I can't say "yeh yeh. kids should play outside", when I assume "where is a 4 year old going to play? on a roof? how many safe parks are there? is it easy to get to them? do the schools have playgrounds?

what is there to do for them?

where I live you can build forts in the woods (and dodge bears and trespass) but I don't know if you can do that i NYC.
stroll though the park. play basketball.

people are so neurotic today about violence and pedophiles, discarded needles and drug dealers they can't let the small children into parks.

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April Thompson
April Thompson6 years ago

Thank you!

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Chinmayee Jog
Chinmayee Jog6 years ago

It's sad that it's come to this - children should be encouraged to play outside often, especially as not only will they get Vit.D, but they will also get exercise and fit and healthy. Thanks for sharing, it's worrying...

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William Y.
William Y6 years ago

One point the sunlight does not contain Vitamin D, but the ultraviolet radiation converts ergosterol in the skin to Vitamin D2

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Julie W.
Julie W6 years ago

10-15 minutes in the sun, exposing as much of the body as possible, will give you up to 20 000iu Vitamin D. In Australia, we have become paranoid about sun exposure - the 'slip, slop, slap' message has been taken to extremes.

Older people especially can be seen wearing hats and shirts even on a cloudy day. Statistically, most are deficient in vit D. My neighbour will not allow her kids out in the sun at all, unless completely covered up.

I never wear sun screen, and go out in the sun in the mornings and afternoons, not the heat of the day. There is a difference between spending hours in the sun and getting burnt, and a sensible exposure.

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Chrissy Mead
Chrissy Mead6 years ago

I know a couple who never permit their children outside when they are home. At school it's ok, but at home they are never allowed. They use the excuse that there are bugs and snakes and such outside, but that's just an excuse. They can't stand not having absolute control of their kids. I wouldn't be surprised if their kids developed Rickets.

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Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago

ty

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Marian D.
Marian D6 years ago

thanks

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Mikaila H.
Mikaila H6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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