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Vitamin D advice to be reviewed

25th January 2012

Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, is contacting doctors to discuss worries that some people are deficient in vitamin D.

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Although government guidance says children under the age of five and some other groups should take a supplement, research shows 75% of parents and 50% of health workers did not know about this advice.

The number of cases of rickets in children, which is caused by a lack of vitamin D, has increased since the late 1990s.

Dr Benjamin Jacobs, who works at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, said deficiency in the vitamin had been linked to cancer and heart disease.

The consultant paediatrician spoke to BBC Breakfast and said they saw around one serious case of rickets a month. .

He added: "There are many other children who have less severe problems - muscle weakness, delay in walking, bone pains - and research indicates that in many parts of the country the majority of children have a low level of vitamin D." 

Dame Sally Davies: "We know a significant proportion of people in the UK probably have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood. People at risk of vitamin D deficiency, including pregnant women and children under five, are already advised to take daily supplements."

"It is important to raise awareness of this issue, and I will be contacting health professionals on the need to prescribe and recommend vitamin D supplements to at-risk groups." 

 

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