Rickets makes comeback as generation shuns sun

Share this article

CHILDHOOD rickets - the "bandy-leg" disease that was eradicated last century - is making a comeback in Scotland's cities, experts warned yesterday.

Computer-game obsessed children and cautious parents are contributing to a sharp increase in the cases of the illness.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde have seen 46 cases of rickets in under-16s in 2009, up from just nine cases in 2006.

In adults, the condition is known as osteomalacia and has also seen a huge increase.

In 2006 the number of over-16s suffering from the condition was four, while last year it had soared to 27.

The figures were released following an investigation by a Sunday newspaper, ?and a leading professor labelled the situation as "concerning".

He also warned it may just be the tip of the iceberg as many health boards are not recording the true extent of the condition.

Rickets is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin D, which is normally gained by exposure to the sun.

It can lead to deformities such as bowed legs as well as stunted growth. Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to seizures and death through serious heart problems.

Professor Faisal Ahmed, of Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Yorkhill, said: "Most cases of vitamin D deficiency rickets and similar conditions are not admitted and would be out-patients. The increase in cases may be due to improved awareness among doctors, so that they are diagnosing it more often."