More than 20% of Southampton children tested for bone problems showed signs of rickets, a hospital has revealed.
Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Professor Nicholas Clarke said he was stunned after checking 200 children from Southampton for the bone problem caused by a lack of vitamin D and finding that 20% of them showed signs of the disease, which can cause weak and bowed bones.
Normally, vitamin D is taken in by the body through exposure to the sun, while eggs and oily fish also contain vitamin D. The recent rise has been attributed to poor diets and children not being allowed outside.
Professor Clarke said: “In my 22 years at Southampton General Hospital, this is a completely new occurrence in the South that has evolved over the last 12 to 24 months and we are seeing cases across the board, from areas of deprivation up to the middle classes, so there is a real need to get national attention focused on the dangers this presents.
“The return of rickets in northern parts of the UK came as a surprise despite the colder climate and lower levels of sunshine in the North, but what has developed in Southampton is quite astonishing.”
Professor Clarke added that vitamin D supplements should be used more widely to stop the rise in cases.