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Volume 927: debated on Monday 7 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what is the recorded incidence of rickets in the cities of London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow for each of the last three years for which figures are available.

Rickets is not a notifiable disease and no estimate of its incidence can therefore be made. There is good evidence, however, that a proportion of the young immigrant population in the United Kingdom is affected by a varying degree of vitamin D deficiency which leads to rickets. A booklet on vitamin D deficiency and rickets was published by my Department last month which it is hoped will remind all teachers, doctors and nurses of the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in the young, the housebound elderly, and especially among the Asian members of the community. It should also serve as a reminder of the simple measures by which the deficiency can be corrected. If these are taken much mild disease and some severe disease can be prevented and cured.