Rickets, Milk, and Lack of Exercise
New research claims not enough milk, exercise, and sunshine is causing rickets in some children. Lauran Neegaard of the Associated Press reports:
It's not just that they don't drink fortified milk. Bodies make vitamin D with sunlight. With teen computer use, urban youngsters without safe places to play outdoors and less school P.E., it's no wonder D levels are low. Because skin pigment alters sun absorption, black children are particularly at risk.I wasn’t sure how to approach this report. So, I asked Dr. Fuhrman for his input. Here’s what he had to say:
Rickets marks the worst deficiency, where bones become so soft that legs literally bow. Rickets was once thought to have been eradicated with milk fortification, but "I am now treating rickets in a way that I never treated it 20 years ago," says Tosi, who diagnoses rickets or super-low D levels in children every month at a bone clinic she runs for mostly inner-city children.
Doctors who've never seen rickets can miss it. Charlene Bullock repeatedly asked her 5-year-old's doctor why his leg was bending inward and he could no longer run with his playmates. It took a trip to Tosi's special clinic to learn Na-shun had rickets — the once energetic child had quit running because his bones ached like an old man's.
Fortunately, rickets caught early is easily cured with high-dose infusions of vitamin D and calcium, and Bullock's son quickly rebounded. "He's doing everything with that little leg."
I saw plenty of kids with rickets in my medical school and residency days in the inner cities. Clearly, lack of exercise and sunlight, especially in those with darker skin is creating an epidemic of bone disease. Milk is fortified with Vitamin D, and can be the only D and calcium source in people who do not eat vegetables. I agree that the public needs to be better educated in these important nutritional issues.Now, in regard to milk, exercise, and sunshine, these posts should explain things. Take a look:
Regular Exercise Pays Big Health DividendsIn a nut shell—good, bad, good.
“As we condition our muscles and gain strength, our bones thicken and strengthen along with the muscle. Without regular exercise along the way, your bone structure can deteriorate as you get older. Some people survive with weak bones, but their quality of life suffers when they are immobilized by arthritis and osteoporosis.”
Cow's Milk and Kids Aren't Made for Each Other
“Milk, which is designed by nature for the rapidly growing cow, has about half its calories supplied from fat. The fatty component is concentrated more to make cheese and butter. Milk and cheese are the foods Americans encourage their children to eat, believing them to be healthy foods. Fifty years of heavy advertising by an economically powerful industry has shaped the public's perception, illustrating the power of one-sided advertising, but the reality and true health effects on our children is a different story.”
Importance of Vitamin D
“Sun exposure is perhaps the most important source of vitamin D because exposure to sunlight provides most humans with their vitamin D requirement. The further you live from the equator, the longer you need to be exposed to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Season, time of day, cloud cover, smog, and sunscreen affect UV ray exposure and vitamin D synthesis.”
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