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More cases of rickets turn up in UK, lack of sunshine exposure to blame

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: rickets, sun exposure, health news

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(NaturalNews) Thought to have been eradicated at least 80 years ago, the bone disease rickets is once again making a big comeback, particularly in the UK where cases of it are popping up all over place. A recent report from BBC News explains that rickets is on the rise in Cardiff, Wales, the country's capital, and largest, city.

Though Public Health Wales does not track and analyze rickets statistics among the population -- probably because the disease has been thought to be largely extinct -- health professionals say they are seeing more cases of the disease among children. The reason, of course, is severe vitamin D deficiency among the population, which stems from too little natural exposure to sunlight.

"We're still seeing rickets in children in Cardiff in the 21st Century -- which a lot of people might be very shocked and surprised by, thinking of it as a Victorian illness. But no, it's not," said Dr. Elspeth Webb a pediatrician and reader in child health at Cardiff University, to BBC News.

"You get women living in certain communities that perhaps don't go out much because of religious, cultural traditions. They're covered up when they do. They don't get enough access to sunlight. So they have a vitamin D deficiency."

And when people do go outside in the sun, many of them, particularly those that are fair skinned, lather up in chemical-laden sunscreens that block the sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which are responsible for inducing vitamin D production in the skin (http://www.naturalnews.com/031311_rickets_su...).

And darker-skinned people who may not wear as much sunscreen are also not as receptive to those same UVB rays, which means they must spend more time in the sun than lighter skinned people to produce enough vitamin D to stay healthy (http://www.naturalnews.com/030238_vitamin_D_...).

"As long as active promotion of where people can access vitamins, how they can maybe modify their behavior in order to attract more sunlight into their lives, then I believe this is something that can be reversed," added Nathan Evans, coordinator of the Butetown Communities First project, a community action group in Cardiff, to BBC.

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