Doctor says public health’s efforts to stop resurgence ‘abysmal failure’
By CBC News
Rates of rickets continue to rise among aboriginal children in the North, a trend that has researchers increasingly concerned.
Dr. Leanne Ward, who works with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, did a 2007 study examining rates of rickets in aboriginal children in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut and Alaska between the ages of one and two.
The study found incidences of rickets that were six to 12 times higher than the rest of Canada, a trend that Ward says hasn’t changed.
“We are all very concerned that we are seeing rickets in 2015,” says Ward. “This is a global health problem we shouldn’t be seeing anymore.”
She says public health’s efforts to stop the resurgence is an “abysmal failure.”
Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D. It is categorized as a “rare disease” in developed countries, meaning that it affects less than one in 200,000 people on average. It can lead to bone, muscle and teeth development issues and an increased possibility of fractures.
“Infants can present in the first year of life, with seizures,” says Ward. “They’ll often show up in the emergency room. Older children will present with fractures, significant deformity of the lower limbs, so they have a waddling gait.”
Ward says rickets isn’t just caused by a lack of sunlight. She blames poor diets, and the lack of access to rich in vitamin D “country foods” such as char and caribou for the increased instances of the disease in the Northern aboriginal population.
Ward is recommending that territorial health departments develop a policy to prescribe vitamin D supplements to infants.
News courtesy: CBC
Read more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/rickets-on-the-rise-for-aboriginal-children-in-the-north-1.3010306