Remember When Kids Used To Play Outside?
Rickets was most common in industrialized cities during the 1800s. Children who worked in factories had poor diets and got little sunlight, resulting in a Vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to bone problems, bowed legs, and stunted growth. Since it is such an easy disease to avoid simply by spending a few minutes in the sun each day, as child labor laws limited kids’ time trapped inside, rickets all but disappeared.
Since rickets had been perceived as a disease that was “taken care of” for almost a century, doctors in the US and Europe were astonished when it suddenly started showing up in increasing numbers of children in the last decade, with several hundred cases in England alone in 2009. Part of the problem is that many children are back to having poor diets and spending very little time outside.
But the problems also present themselves in infants, ironically because new mothers are trying to do everything right. Breast milk does not contain Vitamin D and as more women breastfeed their children exclusively, and for longer time periods, as well as protecting their children’s sensitive skin from the sun when they go out, Vitamin D deficiencies are becoming more common in infants. Doctors urge women to keep breastfeeding, but to give babies vitamin supplements as well.
Read more about diseases of the Civil War era at www.CivilWarRx.com