Rickets is a disease that has all but vanished in most parts of the world, but now doctors are warning that it may be seeing a resurgence within some ethnic groups. The culprit is a lack of Vitamin D, which doctors warn is caused by kids not spending enough time outside. According to an article in Natural News, the disease is showing up in England and other northern countries, among people of African and Asian descent. People with pigmented skin are at a heightened risk of the disorder, which is characterized by weakening of the bones, impaired growth, short stature, and bow legs.
The disease is for the most part preventable and directly linked to a deficiency in Vitamin D as well as calcium and phosphate. The resurgence of the disease may be directly linked to kids spending too much time indoors whether it be staring at the television, computer screen, or playing video games. Fears of skin cancer have also led parents to slap on sunscreen and be fearful of sending the kids outside.
A review paper published the British Medical Journal discussed the disease's resurrection. According to the researcher Simon Pierce:
Some people are taking the safe sun message too far. It's good to have 20 to 30 minutes of exposure to the sun two to three times a week, after which you can put on a hat or sunscreen.
While in the US rickets is still for the most part not an issue, Vitamin D deficiency certainly is and as the weather cools down it becomes even more of an issue. In the winter it's impossible to produce Vitamin D from the sun if you live north of Atlanta because the sun never gets high enough in the sky for its ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere.
If you live in a part of the world that just doesn't get enough sun in the winter, consider loading your diet up with Vitamin D rich foods like salmon and eggs. Read my guide to finding non-sun Vitamin D sources and avoid deficiency-related illnesses. But during the rest of the year, get outside and enjoy.