December 17, 2013
Ricket risk from low vitamin D
Starship researchers are urging pregnant Maori women to take vitamin D supplements to ensure their babies are not at risk of rickets.
In a paper published in the prestigious American journal Paediatrics, author Cameron Grant says young breastfed infants of Maori or Pacific Island women, or infants of women with dark skin, are at the greatest risk of having low vitamin D levels.
The mother’s levels of the vitamin during pregnancy determines levels in her newborn baby.
Dr Grant says one in five New Zealand infants is at risk of rickets because of low vitamin D levels at birth.
The main source of vitamin D here is sunlight, although it can also come from supplements like cod liver oil.
He says New Zealand neither fortifies its food with vitamin D nor recommends supplements, so it has a higher rate of vitamin D deficiency than many other countries.
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