Under the grey skies of the UK, a childhood disease thought to have been almost eliminated half a century ago is rising up like a specter from the past, spooking parents and doctors alike. Rickets, a condition which evokes images of a bygone era of childhood malnutrition, is on the rise in a big way, and its principal cause is a lack of vitamin D.
This phenomenon isn’t limited to the British Isles however. Vitamin D deficiency has already become a global pandemic, yet remains frequently overlooked by both media and health professionals. Recent research suggests that more than 80% of the European population and half of the world are vitamin D deficient. It is possible to obtain vitamin D principally from food and food supplements, but the main and best source of vitamin D is sun exposure.
Conflicting recommendations about the risks of sun exposure and its relationship to skin cancer has contributed to a lack of exposure to the sun’s UV rays as people cover up and use sunscreen. Nonetheless there are a multitude of factors at work here, and a sharp rise in time spent indoors must be considered as a significant contributing social factor.
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