One of the country's leading experts in the problems of vitamin D deficiency has followed his talk at JFHC Nutrition Day by launching a national campaign calling for more to be done to prevent the recent resurgence of childhood rickets.

Dr Benjamin Jacobs, consultant paediatrician and Director of Children's Service at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, is hoping National Vitamin D Awareness Week [28 Oct-4 Nov] encourages more parents and pregnant women to consider supplementation to combat a rise in vitamin D-related issues including rickets, calcium-convulsions and heart failure.

Speaking to delegates at the Journal's sell-out event in London last week [24 Oct] Dr Jacobs said: "I've noticed a big increase in children suffering vitamin D deficiency in the last decade. Even today, many doctors, health visitors, midwives and nurses, are not sufficiently aware of the problem.

"Parents need to be made more aware, in a balanced and informed way, of the conditions deficiency can cause. For some groups, particularly children and pregnant women, supplementation is the best way to go."

Research suggests that in many parts of the UK, most children have insufficient levels of vitamin D and while Dr Jacobs sees an extreme case of rickets monthly, he says there are many more children who show less severe symptoms of deficiency including muscle weakness, a delay in walking, and bone pains.

A national survey of children suffering convulsions due to a lack of Vitamin D is due to be completed next month following a 400 per cent increase in rickets since 1996.

Health supplement provider BetterYou has also revealed survey findings that show nine out of ten people could be vitamin D deficient, with nearly two thirds severely lacking, and of those diagnosed as being severely deficient 71 per cent do not take any form of supplement.

Andrew Thomas, founder and managing director at BetterYou, said: "Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most important lifestyle health initiatives facing us today. Raising awareness this is a long-term objective for our company, but we believe that for people to take action against this easily reversible situation, they must have access to the correct information."

Watch Dr Benjamin Jacobs full talk at JFHC Nutrition Day below:

Posted 30/10/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com