12 October 2006
Eat More Oily Fish to Reduce Risk of Rickets
News this week that New Zealand children are developing rickets, a Third World disease which strikes children who don't
get enough sun, has prompted New Zealand Seafood Industry Council Chief Executive Owen Symmans to recommend to New
Zealand parents to increase their children’s consumption of oily fish. Around a third of New Zealand children have shown
to have a low vitamin D status, with the same number of adults having vitamin D insufficiency.
“The highest concentration of vitamin D in any food is found in oily fish and is an important way to increase vitamin
D levels, which are especially important for children and pregnant women,” Mr Symmans says.
“With cancer prevention recommendations to reduce the amount of time we spend in the sun, dietary sources of vitamin D
are increasingly important – and should not be ignored.”
Rickets can cause severe bone deformities including bowed legs and while it can be cured its effects are permanent.
Rickets is prevented with vitamin D – which people get from spending time in the sun and including vitamin D rich foods
in a balanced diet. High levels of vitamin D are found naturally in oily fish and are added into other specialist
Rickets has been reported in New Zealand schools and in recent years in the US and Australia.