Save a child with sunlight! A call to action

Save a child by preventing rickets.

Save a child with sunlight! A call to action

Save a child, by Marc Sorenson, EdD

Save a child, and save the children, are part of a series of blogs promoting sunlight for our youth. It is astounding how closely childhood diseases and disorders associate to sun deprivation. Let’s get serious! Many of these diseases occur due to indoor lifestyles and sun “protection.”

Save a child with sunlight and prevent a disastrous disease.

Let’s discuss a terrible disease that is totally unnecessary and can scar a child’s life forever. It is the horrible disease of bone deformity and weakness called rickets. And, it is a disease almost wholly due to vitamin D deficiency. It is most noteworthy that rickets was once thought to be eradicated by vitamin D supplementation in the food supply. But due to lack of sunlight (always the best source of vitamin D), the disease is again rearing its ugly head. Addition of vitamin D has not been sufficient to overcome vitamin D deficiency due to sun deprivation.

Save a child in a sunny state.

Furthermore, rickets is occurring in sunny states, where one would think it could not exist. Another fact is that 83% of cases occur in black children. Black children and adults need more time in the sun to produce vitamin D than do Caucasians.  And, 96% of the cases were breast-fed, demonstrating a lack of vitamin D in their mothers’ milk. Yet, the primary cause is living indoors and avoiding sun. Therefore, this alarming comeback by rickets is not a surprise. And it is not confined to the U.S.

Can sunlight save a child in Ethiopia?

Especially relevant to the widespread geography is a study in Ethiopia showing 42% of children are vitamin D deficient. And, the prevalence of deficiency is significantly higher among urban children and in children less exposed to sun. The researchers who produced this data, trying to save a child, made the following observations regarding their findings: “Behavior change communication to enhance exposure to ultraviolet light is critical to prevent vitamin D deficiency in a tropical country like Ethiopia. Further study is required to assess the deleterious effect of its deficiency on bone mineral homeostasis of growing children in Ethiopia during their most critical period of bone development.”

In addition, to save a child from rickets may also save that child from terrible dental health.

Rickets is also associated with destruction of dental health. In the medical journal Pediatrics, an interesting report discussed the plight of two young girls who suffered from severe tooth decay related to rickets. We have already discussed that rickets is characterized by defective bone growth and horribly deformed bodies. And we now see that it may also be characterized by teeth without enamel. Rickets is also associated with autism. Save a child from both physical and mental disability by getting him or her out in the sunlight.

No one ever needs to have rickets. Pregnant mothers, get out in the sun for a few minutes around midday and make certain your children play in the sun regularly. Just take care not to burn. Save a child! If all mothers and children would follow this advice, rickets would cease to exist.

Happy sunning.

For more information, peruse the literature on bone diseases on, or read the book, Embrace the Sun.

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