Prevention of rickets and osteomalacia in the UK: political action overdue

Suma Uday, Wolfgang Högler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
513 Downloads (Pure)


The consequences of vitamin D and dietary calcium deficiency have become a huge public health concern in the UK. The burden of disease from these deficiencies includes rickets, and hypocalcaemic seizures, dilated cardiomyopathy and mostly occult myopathy and osteomalacia. The increasing burden of the disease is intrinsically linked to ethnicity and the population demographic changes in the UK. Three facts have led to the resurfacing of the English disease: (1) the UK has no ultraviolet sunlight for at least 6 months of the year, (2) dark skin produces far less vitamin D than white skin per unit ultraviolet light exposure, and (3) non-European Union immigration over the last century. To date, the UK government demonstrates incomplete understanding of these three facts, and its failure to adjust its prevention programmes to changing demographics is endangering the health and life of UK residents with dark skin, of whom infants are the most vulnerable. Establishing accountability through the implementation of monitored antenatal and infantile supplementation programmes and mandatory food fortification is overdue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-906
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number9
Early online date16 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

© Article author(s) (or their employer(s) unless otherwise stated in the text of the article) 2018. All rights reserved. No commercial use is permitted unless otherwise expressly granted.


  • Dietary Supplements
  • Government
  • Health Promotion/methods
  • Humans
  • Osteomalacia/epidemiology
  • Politics
  • Public Health/methods
  • Rickets/epidemiology
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology
  • Vitamin D/therapeutic use


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