Rickets Making a Comeback in the U.K., Doctors SayPosted: November 8, 2013 | |
Maria Cheng reports: (LONDON) — Rickets, the childhood disease that once caused an epidemic of bowed legs and curved spines during the Victorian era, is making a shocking comeback in 21st-century Britain.
Rickets results from a severe deficiency of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Rickets was historically considered to be a disease of poverty among children who toiled in factories during the Industrial Revolution, and some experts have hypothesized it afflicted literary characters like Tiny Tim in Charles Dickens‘ “A Christmas Carol.”
Last month, Britain’s chief medical officer, Dr. Sally Davies, described the return of rickets as “appalling.” She proposed the country give free vitamins to all children under 5 and asked the country’s independent health watchdog to study if that would be worthwhile.