News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

NZ children still suffer rickets from lack of Vitamin D


Tuesday 30 June 2015

NZ children still suffer rickets from lack of Vitamin D


Vitamin D deficiency continues to cause rickets in young New Zealanders, new University of Otago research has found. The researchers say that their finding suggests that at-risk mothers and children should be better targeted for Vitamin D supplementation.

Rickets is a serious bone growth disorder that can lead to skeletal deformity and seizures. It can also cause several other developmental problems. Currently no national statistics are kept on rates of Vitamin D deficiency rickets in New Zealand.

Researchers in Otago’s New Zealand Paediatric Surveillance Unit have now completed the first-ever study to give a snapshot of the number of cases of such rickets occurring in children aged under 15 in this country.

Every month, over the period July 2010 to June 2013 inclusive, the researchers asked around 220 New Zealand paediatricians (92 per cent of the current workforce) if they had treated any cases of Vitamin D deficiency rickets in the previous month.

The researchers were notified of 73 cases by 38 paediatricians. Their responses to follow-up questionnaires allowed the team to exclude cases that did not meet its strict clinical definitions, or were duplicates. The researchers identified 58 children with the disease and analysed anonymised data relating to these patients.

Their findings are newly published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Study co-author Dr Ben Wheeler says they identified the key risk factors for the disorder as having darker skin pigment, Indian and African ethnicity, being under three years old, exclusively breastfed, and living in the far South, particularly during winter and spring.

“While we found the highest population rates of Vitamin D deficiency rickets in children living in Otago and Southland, nearly a third of all cases were reported in Auckland and Northland."

“Of the 58 patients identified, we found none had previously received appropriate Vitamin D supplementation, which is concerning,” Dr Wheeler says.

In their article, he and his co-authors conclude that “to reduce the incidence of the disease among those at risk, efforts should be focused on increasing awareness—and implementation—of existing policies for targeted maternal, infant, and child Vitamin D supplementation.”

Dr Wheeler says that there has been mounting concern worldwide that the number of children suffering from Vitamin D deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency rickets is increasing.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>


Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>


Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland