Wakefield children being diagnosed with pre-war illness rickets

An annual report by the director of public health has been released, highlighting several areas, including smoking, obesity and sexual health, where the district does not compare well nationally. The report by Dr Andrew Furber is being released with the screening of short films by young people from the district.'Dr Furber.'w0473b950
An annual report by the director of public health has been released, highlighting several areas, including smoking, obesity and sexual health, where the district does not compare well nationally. The report by Dr Andrew Furber is being released with the screening of short films by young people from the district.'Dr Furber.'w0473b950

CHILDREN in Wakefield are being diagnosed with rickets.

The illness which causes deformed bones was virtually eliminated by improved diets and living standards.

And although district health chiefs say the number of rickets cases is low, it marks a return of an illness associated with the slums and poverty of pre-war Britain.

Fifteen cases of the illness have been diagnosed in the district in the past three years.

But experts have warned that cases of vitamin D deficiency, which causes rickets and a string of other conditions, are rising and many could be going undiagnosed.

They have called for vitamin D supplements and the fortification of some foods to tackle the condition. Nationally, cases have risen four-fold in the past 15 years.

Dr Andrew Furber, the district’s director of public health, said free supplements were available at children’s centres for eligible pregnant and breastfeeding women and kids aged between six months and four years.

He said: “Rickets is a preventable condition which affects bones in children and adults leaving them painful and soft or deformed.

“We recommend people most at risk, pregnant and breastfeeding women, children aged six months to five-years-old and the over-65s, should take vitamin D supplements to prevent bone problems.”

Sunshine replenishes vitamin D in the body, and experts recommend eating oily fish or getting a dose of sun during the winter to stay healthy.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said vitamin D deficiency could be affecting at least half the UK’s white population, up to 90 per cent of the multi-ethnic population and a quarter of kids.