High vitamin D deficiency found in Redbridge children

Cod liver oil is rich in vitamin D (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA)

Cod liver oil is rich in vitamin D (Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Health experts are urging parents to “make every day a vitamin D day” to ensure their children are getting enough during the winter months.

New figures published Vitamin D Mission have revealed that 38 children in Redbridge aged 16 and under were diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency in 2013/14.

Most people will be able to get the vitamin D they need from a balanced diet and by getting some summer sun however not getting enough can lead to bone deformities in children.

Certain groups are more at risk than others, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with darker skin such as people of African, African-Caribbean and South Asian origin and those who cover up their skin when they go outdoors.

Dr Benjamin Jacobs, consultant paediatrician at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, said: “Due to the weak sunlight during the winter months, we are urging parents to make every day a vitamin D day, and include naturally occurring or fortified vitamin D-rich foods into their children’s diets, or to provide them with a daily supplement.”

Admissions for vitamin D deficiency across the borough are down on previous years with 57 diagnoses in 2012/13 and 41 in 2011/12.

The figures released to coincide with vitamin D awareness week also show no parents in London were able to distinguish between the months that the skin can make vitamin D from sunlight and the months when it can’t.

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Also 73 per cent of parents were unaware of the Department of Health’s guidance that all infants should take daily supplements.

Dr Jacobs added: “These findings are very worrying as they seem to suggest that parents in the UK are still not properly informed of the major health issues associated with low levels of vitamin D.”

A Redbridge council spokesman said: “Our approach to increase the availability and uptake of vitamin D supplements is by improving the awareness of the importance of vitamin D among at-risk groups.”

An online test for parents to calculate if their child’s vitamin D intake is sufficient can be found here. For more information go to the Vitamin D Mission’s website.

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