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Background: Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are common worldwide, causing nutritional rickets and osteomalacia, which have a major impact on health, growth, and development of infants, children, and adolescents; the consequences can be lethal or can last into adulthood. The goals of this evidence-based consensus document are to provide health care professionals with guidance for prevention, diagnosis, and management of nutritional rickets and to provide policy makers with a framework to work toward its eradication. Evidence: A systematic literature search examining the definition, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of nutritional rickets in children was conducted. Evidence-based recommendations were developed using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system that describes the strength of the recommendation and the quality of supporting evidence. Process: Thirty-three nominated experts in pediatric endocrinology, pediatrics, nutrition, epidemiology, public health, and health economics evaluated the evidence on specific questions within five working groups. The consensus group, representing 11 international scientific organizations, participated in a multiday conference in May 2014 to reach a global evidence-based consensus. Results: This consensus document defines nutritional rickets and its diagnostic criteria and describes the clinical management of rickets and osteomalacia. Risk factors, particularly in mothers and infants, are ranked, and specific prevention recommendations including food fortification and supplementation are offered for both the clinical and public health contexts. Conclusion: Rickets, osteomalacia, and vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are preventable global public health problems in infants, children, and adolescents. Implementation of international rickets prevention programs, including supplementation and food fortification, is urgently required.
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Consensus Statement
Horm Res Paediatr
DOI: 10.1159/000443136
Global Consensus Recommendations on Prevention
and Management of Nutritional Rickets
CraigF.Munns NickShaw MaireadKiely BonnyL.Specker TomD.Thacher KeiichiOzono
ToshimiMichigami DovTiosano M.ZulfMughal OutiMäkitie LornaRamos-Abad LeanneWard
LindaA.DiMeglio NavodaAtapattu HamiltonCassinelli ChristianBraegger JohnM.Pettifor
AnjuSeth HafsatuWasaguIdris VijayalakshmiBhatia JunfenFu GailGoldberg LarsSävendahl
RajeshKhadgawat PawelPludowski JaneMaddock ElinaHyppönen AbiolaOduwole
EmmaFrew MagdaAguiar Ted Tulchinsky Gary Butler Wolfgang Högler
nology, pediatrics, nutrition, epidemiology, public health,
and health economics evaluated the evidence on specific
questions within five working groups. The consensus group,
representing 11 international scientific organizations, par-
ticipated in a multiday conference in May 2014 to reach a
global evidence-based consensus. Results: This consensus
document defines nutritional rickets and its diagnostic crite-
ria and describes the clinical management of rickets and os-
teomalacia. Risk factors, particularly in mothers and infants,
are ranked, and specific prevention recommendations in-
cluding food fortification and supplementation are offered
for both the clinical and public health contexts. Conclusion:
Rickets, osteomalacia, and vitamin D and calcium deficien-
cies are preventable global public health problems in in-
fants, children, and adolescents. Implementation of interna-
tional rickets prevention programs, including supplementa-
tion and food fortification, is urgently required.
© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel and The Endocrine Society
Key Words
Rickets · Nutrition · Vitamin D · Calcium · Consensus
recommendations
Abstract
Background: Vitamin D and calcium deficiencies are com-
mon worldwide, causing nutritional rickets and osteomala-
cia, which have a major impact on health, growth, and devel-
opment of infants, children, and adolescents; the conse-
quences can be lethal or can last into adulthood. The goals
of this evidence-based consensus document are to provide
health care professionals with guidance for prevention, di-
agnosis, and management of nutritional rickets and to pro-
vide policy makers with a framework to work toward its erad-
ication. Evidence: A systematic literature search examining
the definition, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of nutri-
tional rickets in children was conducted. Evidence-based
recommendations were developed using the Grading of
Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evalua-
tion (GRADE) system that describes the strength of the rec-
ommendation and the quality of supporting evidence. Pro-
cess: Thirty-three nominated experts in pediatric endocri-
Received: April 24, 2015
Accepted: September 17, 2015
Published online: January 8, 2016
HORMONE
RESEARCH IN
PÆ D I A T R I C S
Dr. Wolfgang Högler
Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes
Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Steelhouse Lane
Birmingham B4 6NH (UK)
wolfgang.hogler @ bch.nhs.uk
© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel and The Endocrine Society
1663–2818/16/0000–0000$39.50/0
www.karger.com/hrp
See the Appendix for author affiliations.
This article is simultaneously published in The Journal of Clinical Endo-
crinology and Metabolism (DOI: 10.1210/jc.2015-2175).
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2
Summary of Consensus Recommendations
1
Section 1: Defining Nutritional Rickets and the
Interplay between Vitamin D Status and Calcium
Intake
1.1 Definition and Diagnosis of Nutritional Rickets
Nutritional rickets (NR), a disorder of defective chon-
drocyte differentiation and mineralization of the
growth plate and defective osteoid mineralization, is
caused by vitamin D deficiency and/or low calcium
intake in children. (1 )
The diagnosis of NR is made on the basis of history,
physical examination, and biochemical testing, and is
confirmed by radiographs. (1 )
1.2 Vitamin D Status
The panel recommends the following classification of
vitamin D status, based on serum 25-hydroxyvitamin
D (25OHD) levels: (1 )
Sufficiency, >50 nmol/l
Insufficiency, 30–50 nmol/l
Deficiency, <30 nmol/l
1.3 Vitamin D Toxicity
Toxicity is defined as hypercalcemia and serum
25OHD >250 nmol/l, with hypercalciuria and sup-
pressed parathyroid hormone (PTH). (1 )
1.4 Dietary Calcium Intake to Prevent Rickets
For infants 0–6 and 6–12 months of age, the adequate
calcium intake is 200 and 260 mg/day, respectively.
(1 )
For children over 12 months of age, dietary calcium
intake of <300 mg/day increases the risk of rickets in-
dependently of serum 25OHD levels. (1 )
For children over 12 months of age, the panel recom-
mends the following classification of dietary calcium
intake: (1 )
Sufficiency, >500 mg/day
Insufficiency, 300–500 mg/day
Deficiency, <300 mg/day
1.5 Vitamin D Deficiency and Fractures
Children with radiographically confirmed rickets have
an increased risk of fracture. (1 )
Children with simple vitamin D deficiency are not at
increased risk of fracture. (1 )
Section 2: Prevention and Treatment of Nutritional
Rickets and Osteomalacia
2.1 Vitamin D Supplementation for the Prevention of
Rickets and Osteomalacia
400 IU/day (10 μg) is adequate to prevent rickets and is
recommended for all infants from birth to 12 months of
age, independently of their mode of feeding. (1 )
Beyond 12 months of age, all children and adults need
to meet their nutritional requirement for vitamin D
through diet and/or supplementation, which is at least
600 IU/day (15 μg), as recommended by the Institute
of Medicine (IOM). (1 )
2.2 Target for Vitamin D Supplementation
In healthy children, routine 25OHD screening is not
recommended, and consequently, no specific 25OHD
threshold for vitamin D supplementation is targeted in
this population. (1 )
2.3 Candidates for Preventative Vitamin D
Supplementation beyond 12 Months of Age
In the absence of food fortification, vitamin D supple-
mentation should be given to:
Children with a history of symptomatic vitamin D de-
ficiency requiring treatment (1 )
Children and adults at high risk of vitamin D deficien-
cy, with factors or conditions that reduce synthesis or
intake of vitamin D (1 )
Pregnant women (see section 3.1)
2.4 Dose of Vitamin D and Calcium for the
Treatment of Nutritional Rickets
For the treatment of NR, the minimal recommended
dose of vitamin D is 2,000 IU/day (50 μg) for a mini-
mum of 3 months. (1 )
Oral calcium, 500 mg/day, either as dietary intake or
supplement, should be routinely used in conjunction
with vitamin D in the treatment regardless of age or
weight. (1 )
2.5 Appropriate Route of Administration and
Duration of Therapy
We recommend oral treatment, which more rapidly
restores 25OHD levels than intramuscular treatment.
(1 )
For daily treatment, both D
2 and D
3 are equally effec-
tive. (1 )
• When single large doses are used, D
3 appears to be
preferable compared to D
2 because the former has a
longer half-life. (1 )
1 Grading of evidence: 1 = strong recommendation; 2 = weak recommen-
dation. Quality of evidence: ⨁⨁⨁ = high; = moderate; ○○ = low
quality.
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Vitamin D treatment is recommended for a minimum
of 12 weeks, recognizing that some children may re-
quire a longer treatment duration. (1 )
Section 3: Prevention of Nutritional Rickets/
Osteomalacia: Identification of Risk Factors
3.1 Dietary Practices and Nutrient Intakes among
Mothers Associated with Nutritional Rickets in
Infants
Maternal vitamin D deficiency should be avoided by
ensuring that women of childbearing age meet intakes
of 600 IU/day recommended by the IOM. (1 )
Pregnant women should receive 600 IU/day of vitamin
D, preferably as a combined preparation with other
recommended micronutrients such as iron and folic
acid. (2 )
3.2 Early Feeding, Supplementation, Complementary
Feeding, and Nutrient Intake Associated with Rickets
in Infants
In addition to an intake of 400 IU/day of vitamin D,
complementary foods introduced no later than 26
weeks should include sources rich in calcium. (1 )
An intake of at least 500 mg/day of elemental calcium
must be ensured during childhood and adolescence.
(1 )
3.3 Association of Sunlight Exposure with
Nutritional Rickets
Because ultraviolet B (UVB) rays trigger epidermal
synthesis of previtamin D
3 , restricted exposure to sun
increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency and NR.
(1 )
Environmental factors, such as latitude, season, time
of day, cloud cover, and pollution affect the availabil-
ity of UVB, whereas personal factors, such as time
spent outdoors, skin pigmentation, skin coverage, age,
body composition, and genetics affect the dose re-
sponse of UVB exposure and circulating 25OHD.
(2 )
No safe threshold of UV exposure allows for sufficient
vitamin D synthesis across the population without in-
creasing skin cancer risk. (2 )
Section 4: Prevention of Osteomalacia during
Pregnancy and Lactation and Congenital Rickets
4.1 The Relationship between Vitamin D during
Pregnancy and Infant Growth and Bone Mass
Pregnant women should receive 600 IU/day of supple-
mental vitamin D. This will ensure adequacy of mater-
nal 25OHD, especially in women at risk of deficiency,
to prevent elevated cord blood alkaline phosphatase
(ALP), increased fontanelle size, neonatal hypocalce-
mia and congenital rickets, and to improve dental
enamel formation. (2 )
There is little evidence that maternal supplementation
with vitamin D will protect or improve birth anthro-
pometry (2 ○○) and no evidence that supplementa-
tion with vitamin D will protect or improve short- or
long-term growth or bone mass accretion. (2 )
4.2 The Effect of Calcium Supplementation during
Pregnancy on Infant Bone Mass
Pregnant women do not need calcium intakes above
recommended nonpregnant intakes to improve neo-
natal bone. (1 )
4.3 Influence of Calcium or Vitamin D
Supplementation in Pregnancy or Lactation on
Breast Milk Calcium or Vitamin D
Lactating women should ensure they meet the dietary
recommendations for vitamin D (600 IU/day) for their
own needs, but not for the needs of their infant.
(1 )
Lactating women should not take high amounts of
vitamin D as a means of supplementing their infant.
(2 )
Pregnant and lactating women should meet the rec-
ommended intakes of calcium. Maternal calcium in-
take during pregnancy or lactation is not associated
with breast milk calcium concentrations. (1 )
4.4 Causes and Therapy of Congenital Rickets
Supplementing mothers with 600 IU/day of vitamin D
and ensuring they receive recommended calcium in-
takes, or appropriate therapy of maternal conditions
predisposing to hypocalcemia or vitamin D deficiency,
prevent congenital rickets. (2 ○○)
Section 5: Assessing the Burden of Nutritional Rickets
and Public Health Strategies for Prevention
5.1 Assessment of Disease Burden
The prevalence of rickets should be determined by
population-based samples, by case reports from senti-
nel centers, or by mandatory reporting. (1 )
Screening for NR should be based on clinical features,
followed by radiographic confirmation of suspected
cases. (1 )
Population-based screening with serum 25OHD, se-
rum ALP, or radiographs is not indicated. (1 )
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5.2 Public Health Strategies for Rickets Prevention
Universally supplement all infants with vitamin D
from birth to 12 months of age, independently of their
mode of feeding. Beyond 12 months, supplement all
groups at risk and pregnant women. Vitamin D sup-
plements should be incorporated into childhood pri-
mary health care programs along with other essential
micronutrients and immunizations (1 ), and
into antenatal care programs along with other recom-
mended micronutrients. (2 )
Recognize NR, osteomalacia, and vitamin D and cal-
cium deficiencies as preventable global public health
problems in infants, children, and adolescents.
(1 )
• Implement rickets prevention programs in popula-
tions with a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency
and limited vitamin D and/or calcium intakes, and in
groups of infants and children at risk of rickets.
(1 )
Monitor adherence to recommended vitamin D and
calcium intakes and implement surveillance for NR.
(1 )
Fortify staple foods with vitamin D and calcium, as ap-
propriate, based on dietary patterns. Food fortification
can prevent rickets and improve vitamin D status of
infants, children, and adolescents if appropriate foods
are used and sufficient fortification is provided, if for-
tification is supported by relevant legislation, and if the
process is adequately monitored. Indigenous food
sources of calcium should be promoted or subsidized
in children. (1 )
Promote addressing the public health impact of vita-
min D deficiency as both a clinical and a public health
issue. (1 )
5.3 Economic Cost/Benefits of Prevention Programs
• The cost-effectiveness of supplementation and food
fortification programs needs further study. (1 )
Nutritional rickets (NR), secondary to vitamin D defi-
ciency and/or dietary calcium deficiency, remains a sig-
nificant global, public health problem despite the avail-
ability of supplementation and numerous published
guidelines for its prevention
[1–8] . This is concerning be-
cause NR can have a major impact on the health of in-
fants, children, and adolescents, with ramifications that
persist into adulthood. The morbidity and mortality as-
sociated with NR can be devastating, with substantial but
poorly recognized consequences for society and health
economics. Features of NR and osteomalacia include: (1)
hypocalcemic seizures and tetanic spasms; (2) life-threat-
ening hypocalcemic cardiomyopathy; (3) bone pain and
muscle weakness; (4) limb and pelvic deformities; (5) fail-
ure to thrive; (6) developmental delay, and (7) dental
anomalies
[9, 10] . Alarmingly, NR can also lead to death
from heart failure caused by hypocalcemic cardiomyopa-
thy, even in developed countries
[11] . In addition, nar-
rowing of the pelvic outlet after NR in childhood can re-
sult in obstructed labor and maternal and fetal death
[12] .
Despite an intense focus around the role of vitamin D
status in health and disease, there has been a worldwide
failure to implement public health guidance and eradicate
the severest manifestations of vitamin D and calcium de-
ficiency in our most vulnerable population – NR and os-
teomalacia of childhood. Therefore, the goal of this Con-
sensus Statement is to provide clinicians with clarity and
recommendations on the recognition, societal burden,
and treatment of NR and osteomalacia, and to enable cli-
nicians and health policy leaders to establish appropriate
clinical and public health interventions to prevent this
debilitating, costly, and underrecognized global health
problem.
Methods
In recognition of the considerable variation in the definition,
diagnosis, and management of NR worldwide, the European Soci-
ety for Pediatric Endocrinology decided to examine the current
best practice in NR and to formulate evidence-based recommen-
dations. Experts were assembled from the following societies: the
Pediatric Endocrine Society (PES), the Asia Pacific Pediatric En-
docrine Society (APPES), the Japanese Society for Pediatric Endo-
crinology (JSPE), the Sociedad Latino-Americana de Endocri-
nología Pediátrica (SLEP), the Australasian Pediatric Endocrine
Group (APEG), the Indian Society for Pediatric and Adolescent
Endocrinology (ISPAE), the African Society for Pediatric and Ad-
olescent Endocrinology (ASPAE), the Chinese Society of Pediatric
Endocrinology and Metabolism (CSPEM), the British Nutrition
Society, and the European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,
Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN). This consensus paper in-
cludes the cumulative evidence up to the end of 2014.
Participants included individuals from Europe, North America
(United States and Canada), Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Aus-
tralia, with a balanced spectrum of professional seniority and ex-
pertise. In addition, an expert on the development of evidence-
based guidelines served in an advisory capacity. Panel members
declared any potential conflict of interest at the initial meeting of
the group. Thirty-three participants were assigned to one of five
groups to which topics 1–5 were allocated, and a chairperson was
designated for each group. Each participant prepared an evidence-
based summary of the literature relating to a particular question
distributed before the conference (which was held over 3 days in
May 2014).
Each group presented the revised summaries for discussion to
the full conference. This report is based on the questions ad-
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dressed. A detailed description of the GRADE (Grading of Recom-
mendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation) classifica-
tion has been published elsewhere
[13] . Recommendations were
based on published findings and on expert opinion when appro-
priate.
The best available research evidence was used to develop rec-
ommendations. Preference was given to articles written in English,
identified by PubMed searches with MeSH terms. For each point,
recommendations and evidence are described, with a modification
in the grading evidence as follows: 1 = strong recommendation
(applies to most patients in most circumstances, benefits clearly
outweigh the risk); 2 = weak recommendation (consensus opinion
of working group or should be considered; the best action may de-
pend on circumstances or patient values, benefits, and risks close-
ly balanced or uncertain). Quality of evidence is indicated as fol-
lows: = high quality [prospective cohort studies or ran-
domized controlled trials (RCTs) at low risk of bias]; =
moderate quality (observational studies or trials with methodolog-
ical flaws, inconsistent or indirect evidence); ○○ = low quality
(case series or nonsystematic clinical observations)
[13] .
The target audience for these guidelines includes general and
specialist pediatricians, other professionals providing care for pa-
tients with NR, and health policy makers, particularly in countries
with developing economies.
1 Defining Nutritional Rickets and the Interplay
between Vitamin D Status and Calcium Intake
1.1 Definition and Diagnosis of Nutritional Rickets
1.1.1 Recommendations
• NR, a disorder of defective chondrocyte differentia-
tion and mineralization of the growth plate and de-
fective osteoid mineralization, is caused by vitamin D
deficiency and/or low calcium intake in children.
(1 )
The diagnosis of NR is made on the basis of history,
physical examination, and biochemical testing and is
confirmed by radiographs. (1 )
1.1.2 Evidence
Bone mineralization requires sufficient supply of the
essential mineral ions, calcium and phosphate, with vita-
min D optimizing their absorption from the gut. With
insufficient serum calcium concentration caused by ei-
ther vitamin D deficiency or inadequate dietary calcium
intake, parathyroid hormone (PTH) will stimulate osteo-
clastic bone resorption to release stored bone minerals
into the bloodstream and maintain normal serum calci-
um
[14] . Bone disease (rickets and osteomalacia) devel-
ops once elevated PTH has led to low serum phosphate
levels, as a result of impaired renal phosphate conserva-
tion
[15] .
NR is a disorder of defective growth plate chondrocyte
apoptosis and matrix mineralization in children. Osteo-
malacia is abnormal matrix mineralization in established
bone, and although present in children with rickets, it is
used to describe bone mineralization defects after com-
pletion of growth. Children with an underlying disease
such as fat malabsorption, liver disease, renal insufficien-
cy, and illnesses necessitating total parenteral nutrition
can also develop NR and are briefly discussed in this re-
view. NR does not include rickets associated with heri-
table disorders of vitamin D metabolism, including 1-α-
hydroxylase deficiency and vitamin D receptor defects, or
congenital or acquired hypophosphatemic rickets.
The clinical features and consequences of NR are
broad and potentially severe ( table1 )
[8] . Defective min-
eralization leads to radiographic growth plate widening
as well as metaphyseal cupping and fraying, which con-
firm the diagnosis of NR.
Biochemical testing alone is not sufficient to diagnose
NR and may not differentiate whether the primary cause
Table 1. Clinical features associated with NR
Osseous signs and symptoms
Swelling wrists and ankles
Delayed fontanelle closure (normally closed by the age of 2 years)
Delayed tooth eruption (no incisors by the age of 10 months, no
molars by 18 months)
Leg deformity (genu varum, genu valgum, windswept deformity)
Rachitic rosary (enlarged costochondral joints – felt anteriorly,
lateral to the nipple line)
Frontal bossing
Craniotabes (softening of skull bones, usually evident on
palpation of cranial sutures in the first 3 months)
Bone pain, restlessness, and irritability
Radiographic features
Splaying, fraying, cupping, and coarse trabecular pattern of
metaphyses
Widening of the growth plate
Osteopenia
Pelvic deformities including outlet narrowing (risk of obstructed
labor and death)
Long-term deformities in keeping with clinical deformities
Minimal trauma fracture
Nonosseous features
Hypocalcemic seizure and tetany
Hypocalcemic dilated cardiomyopathy (heart failure, arrhythmia,
cardiac arrest, death)
Failure to thrive and poor linear growth
Delayed gross motor development with muscle weakness
Raised intracranial pressure
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of NR is vitamin D or dietary calcium deficiency because
combined deficiencies are common. Typical laboratory
findings in NR are decreases in 25-hydroxyvitamin D
(25OHD), serum phosphorus, serum calcium, and uri-
nary calcium. Conversely, serum PTH, alkaline phospha-
tase (ALP), and urinary phosphorus levels are invariably
elevated
[10, 16] .
Vitamin D status is assessed by measuring blood levels
of total 25OHD. Total 25OHD is used, assuming that
25OHD
2 and 25OHD
3 are of equal biological value [16] .
There is considerable variability between laboratory
methods for measuring serum 25OHD concentrations
[17] . Immunoassays are popular due to their conve-
nience and high sample throughput; however, cross-
reactivity between vitamin D metabolites [25OHD
2 ,
25OHD
3 , and 24,25(OH)
2 D] and high levels of estimated
bias in several automated assays cast doubt on their reli-
ability, particularly at high and low concentrations of
25OHD
[18] . Higher-order reference measurement pro-
cedures for serum 25OHD have been established by the
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
[19] and Ghent University [20] based on isotope dilution
liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. In
recent years, the accuracy of 25OHD assays has im-
proved, also by activities of the Vitamin D Standardiza-
tion Program
[21] , which aims to standardize the results
of different measurement techniques to those of the ref-
erence measurement procedures
[22] . Significant reduc-
tions in interlaboratory variation in serum 25OHD are
observed using liquid chromatography-tandem mass
spectrometry with the application of NIST standard ref-
erence materials
[23] .
Dietary calcium deficiency is diagnosed by obtaining
a calcium intake history. Because the sources of calcium
will vary by country and region, we recommend that cli-
nicians develop a dietary calcium intake questionnaire
specific to their country/region.
1.2 Vitamin D Status
1.2.1 Recommendation
The panel recommends the following classification of
vitamin D status, based on serum 25OHD levels:
(1 )
Sufficiency, >50 nmol/l
Insufficiency, 30–50 nmol/l
Deficiency, <30 nmol/l
1.2.2 Evidence
Our definition of vitamin D deficiency in the context
of skeletal mineralization and mineral ion metabolism for
the prevention of NR is based on strong evidence
[1, 2,
24–27] supported by the increased incidence of NR with
25OHD concentrations <30 nmol/l (1 ng/ml = 2.5 nmol/l).
Our definition is consistent with that of the Institute of
Medicine (IOM) [28] . The potential health impacts of
maintaining a serum concentration >50 nmol/l are be-
yond the scope of this review and are addressed elsewhere
[29] . It should be noted that NR has been reported in chil-
dren with 25OHD concentrations >30 nmol/l
[2, 5, 6, 30]
and that NR may not occur with very low 25OHD con-
centrations but is more likely to occur with deficiency
sustained over time, i.e. chronic deficiency. Most children
with vitamin D deficiency are asymptomatic
[15] , high-
lighting the interplay between serum 25OHD level and
dietary calcium intake in maintaining serum calcium
concentrations and bone integrity ( fig.1 ).
Although the most significant functional outcome of
vitamin D deficiency is the development of osteomalacia
and NR, biochemical and bone density associations are
also reported. Laboratory observations demonstrate that
PTH increases when 25OHD levels drop below 34 nmol/l
[7] . Moreover, all patients with NR in that study had
25OHD levels <34 nmol/l, and PTH was elevated in all
but 1 patient. Taken together, the evidence suggests that
a 25OHD level at 30–34 nmol/l may be the critical cutoff
below which NR is more likely to occur.
Seasonal variations in 25OHD of between 13 and 24
nmol/l
[31] emphasize the importance of maintaining
25OHD levels >50 nmol/l (i.e. sufficient), so as to prevent
prolonged periods of 25OHD levels <30 nmol/l, with the
risk of developing NR.
1.3 Vitamin D Toxicity
1.3.1 Recommendation
Toxicity is defined as hypercalcemia and serum
25OHD >250 nmol/l with hypercalciuria and sup-
pressed PTH
2 . (1 )
1.3.2 Evidence
Intoxication is predominantly seen in infants and
young children after exposure to high doses of vitamin D
(240,000–4,500,000 IU)
[32–37] . High 25OHD concen-
trations can cause hypercalcemia, hypercalciuria, and, if
prolonged, nephrocalcinosis and renal failure. To allow a
2 In areas where 25OHD assays are not readily available, suppression of
PTH in the presence of hypercalcemia and pharmacological doses of vitamin
D may support the diagnosis of vitamin D toxicity. When a PTH assay is also
unavailable, the possibility of toxicity should be considered in the presence
of symptomatic hypercalcemia in association with pharmacological doses of
vitamin D.
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large safety margin, the consensus group felt it prudent to
use the concentration of 250 nmol/l as the recommended
upper limit of serum 25OHD – even if symptomatic tox-
icity from RCTs has only been reported at levels >500
nmol/l
[32] . In otherwise healthy infants, hypercalcemia
and hypercalciuria in the absence of elevated 25OHD
concentrations have been reported and may be related to
genetic variation in vitamin D metabolism
[38, 39] .
1.4 Dietary Calcium Intake to Prevent Rickets
1.4.1 Recommendations
For infants 0–6 and 6–12 months of age, the adequate
calcium intake is 200 and 260 mg/day, respectively.
(1 )
For children over 12 months of age, dietary calcium
intake of <300 mg/day increases the risk of rickets in-
dependently of serum 25OHD levels. (1 )
For children over 12 months of age, the panel recom-
mends the following classification of dietary calcium
intake: (1 )
Sufficiency, >500 mg/day
Insufficiency, 300–500 mg/day
Deficiency, <300 mg/day
1.4.2 Evidence
In developing countries where calcium intake is char-
acteristically very low, with few or no dairy products, di-
etary calcium deficiency is the main cause of NR among
children outside the infant age group.
In 2011, the IOM recommended adequate intakes of
calcium for infants, children, and adults
[16] . The ade-
quate intake for infants was based on breast milk calci-
um content, which is 200 and 260 mg/day for babies 0–6
and 6–12 months of age, respectively. For children 1–18
years of age, the IOM set the daily calcium requirement
at 700–1,300 mg/day, depending on age
[28] . There is,
however, no true definition of dietary calcium deficien-
cy without a reliable biomarker of calcium intake status,
and there are little data to indicate what the lowest cal-
cium intake is that prevents NR. Reports from Nigeria,
India, and Bangladesh
[6, 30, 40–43] highlighted the
role of low dietary calcium intake in the pathogenesis of
NR among children. Although some of these children
also had suboptimal 25OHD, others had values >50
nmol/l, which points to the interplay between calcium
and vitamin D in the pathogenesis of NR ( fig.1 ). These
studies suggest that in children >12 months of age, a di-
etary calcium intake of <300 mg/day significantly in-
creases the risk of NR independently of serum 25OHD
levels, and that at a daily intake of >500 mg, no NR was
seen.
1.5 Vitamin D Deficiency and Fractures
1.5.1 Recommendations
Children with radiographically confirmed rickets have
an increased risk of fracture. (1 )
Children with simple vitamin D deficiency are not at
an increased risk of fracture. (1 )
Fig. 1. Biochemical disturbances in rickets
pathogenesis based on a three-stage classi-
fication of vitamin D status (symbolized by
the sun) and calcium intake (symbolized by
a glass of milk). Figure modified from Hö-
gler [246], with permission by Elsevier
2015.
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1.5.2 Evidence
Based on evidence from available observational stud-
ies and case reports, children with clinical, biochemical,
and radiographic evidence of NR are at an increased risk
of fracture. A retrospective study found that fractures oc-
curred in 7 of 45 (17.5%) infants and toddlers with NR,
aged between 2 and 14 months
[44] . However, fractures
only occurred in those who were mobile and had severe
radiographic evidence of rickets. Although none of the
fractures were considered to be characteristic of nonac-
cidental injury (child abuse), 2 infants had lateral or an-
terior-lateral rib fractures. In a national survey in Canada,
11 of 108 cases of NR (11%) had suffered fractures, al-
though details on the bone sites and numbers of fractures
were not provided
[1] . Fractures also have been reported
in cases or case series of NR in toddlers and adolescents
[45–50] , but details about the number, site, and type of
fracture were absent.
It has been suggested that radiographic features of
rickets may be mistaken for those characteristic of nonac-
cidental injury
[51, 52] , but the necessary biochemical
and radiographic data on the cases for validation of the
authors’ conclusions were absent. In addition, serum
25OHD levels are similar in infants with accidental and
nonaccidental injuries
[53] . Thus, simple vitamin D defi-
ciency, that is vitamin D deficiency without biochemical
or radiological signs of rickets, has not been associated
with an increased fracture risk in infants and children.
2 Prevention and Treatment of Nutritional Rickets
and Osteomalacia
2.1 Vitamin D Supplementation for the Prevention of
Rickets and Osteomalacia
2.1.1 Recommendations
400 IU/day (10 μg) is adequate to prevent rickets and
is recommended for all infants from birth to 12 months
of age, independently of their mode of feeding.
(1 )
Beyond 12 months of age, all children and adults need
to meet their nutritional requirement for vitamin D
through diet and/or supplementation, which is at least
600 IU/day (15 μg), as recommended by the IOM.
(1 )
2.1.2 Evidence
Few published studies have included the prevention of
radiographic or clinical signs of rickets as an outcome.
Consequently, we also reviewed studies that assessed the
effect of different vitamin D supplementation regimens
3
on 25OHD levels and other bone parameters (such as bone
mineral density) with the goal of preventing NR by main-
taining levels above the rachitic range, i.e. >30 nmol/l [54] .
In infants and children, 400 IU/day of vitamin D giv-
en as a supplement during infancy is sufficient to prevent
radiographic signs of rickets in the short term (up to 12
months)
[54] . Specifically, an RCT demonstrated that a
vitamin D supplement of 400 IU/day was sufficient to pre-
vent radiographic signs of rickets at 6 months of age, even
among infants born with vitamin D deficiency
[25] . Simi-
larly, no cases of radiographically confirmed rickets were
seen after administration of 400 IU/day of vitamin D for
12 months, whereas the incidence was 3.8% in Turkish
infants and young children who did not receive supple-
mentation
[55] . In addition, no incident cases of radio-
graphically confirmed rickets were reported in a 2-year
surveillance study of Canadian infants who received 400
IU/day of vitamin D
[1] . Worldwide, there have been no
reports of radiographically confirmed rickets in infants or
children receiving 400 IU on a regular, daily basis. Fur-
thermore, this dose has been shown in RCTs to achieve
25OHD levels more frequently above the rachitic (severe
deficiency) range compared to 100 or 200 IU/day
[25] .
The prevention of vitamin D deficiency in the absence
of NR was also briefly reviewed. In a double-blind RCT
of infants without vitamin D deficiency (25OHD >50
nmol/l), the impact of 400, 800, 1,200, and 1,600 IU of
vitamin D
3 per day was assessed [54] . Doses of 400 IU/
day maintained 25OHD levels >50 nmol/l in 97% of in-
fants after 12 months; doses of 800 and 1,200 IU/day were
of no added benefit to bone mineral density parameters,
and 1,600 IU/day raised concerns about potential toxici-
ty. A study in infants with vitamin D deficiency (25OHD
<25 nmol/l) found that a single dose of 100,000 IU main-
tained 25OHD levels above 37.5 nmol/l for 3 months
without hypercalcemia, whereas higher doses led to unac-
ceptably high 25OHD levels
[56] .
Among infants and toddlers with 25OHD levels <50
nmol/l for whom daily vitamin D supplementation may
not be ideal, intermittent bolus doses of 50–100,000 IU
every 3 months hold promise, although a comprehensive
understanding of the safety and efficacy of this approach
remains to be studied.
3 Note that the term ‘supplementation’ may be interpreted to mean addi-
tional vitamin D provided from supplements, general multivitamins, or food
fortification. In the context of this article, vitamin D supplementation refers
to vitamin D above that which is found in standard dietary sources, with the
exception of fortified infant formula.
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2.2 Target for Vitamin D Supplementation
2.2.1 Recommendation
In healthy children, routine 25OHD screening is not
recommended, and consequently, no specific 25OHD
threshold for vitamin D supplementation is targeted in
this population. (1 )
2.2.2 Evidence
No studies have specifically examined the best moni-
toring approach once supplementation has been given to
prevent vitamin D deficiency rickets. 25OHD is a reason-
able monitoring parameter to ensure levels >30–34 nmol/l
for the prevention of NR. Biochemically, a fall in 25OHD
concentration <34 nmol/l is associated with rising PTH
levels, but this intersection point depends on the prevail-
ing calcium intake
[7] .
The frequent coexistence of dietary calcium deficiency
and vitamin D deficiency alters the threshold for rickets
development
[57] . Similarly, monitoring 25OHD con-
centrations as a public health policy for all individuals is
impractical; fortunately, high-risk groups can easily be
identified based on clinical profile ( table2 ).
2.3 Candidates for Preventative Vitamin D
Supplementation beyond 12 Months of Age
2.3.1 Recommendations
In the absence of food fortification, vitamin D supple-
mentation should be given to:
Children with a history of symptomatic vitamin D de-
ficiency requiring treatment (1 )
Children and adults at high risk of vitamin D deficien-
cy with factors or conditions that reduce synthesis or
intake of vitamin D (1 )
Pregnant women (see section 3.1)
2.3.2 Evidence
Supplementation is a feasible and acceptable way to
ensure adequate vitamin D intake independently of nutri-
tion
[58] . Consensus guidelines for vitamin D supple-
mentation have been drafted from a variety of pediatric/
endocrine groups
[16, 59–62] . Although there are numer-
ous studies regarding vitamin D deficiency in pediatric
populations and primary evaluations of the efficacy of
various programs for supplementation of pregnant wom-
en, breast-feeding mothers, infants, children, and adoles-
cents, there is more opinion than evidence on many as-
pects of this topic. However, there is strong, high-quality
evidence that vitamin D supplementation should be pro-
vided for at-risk groups. All at-risk groups ( table 2 ) are
specifically vulnerable and, in the absence of food fortifi-
cation, require supplementation.
Vitamin D fortification of infant formula is well estab-
lished and recommended by all European countries, Aus-
tralia, New Zealand, and the American Academy of Pedi-
atrics
[60] . Vitamin D fortification of milk is mandated in
Canada, and ‘enriched milk’ is voluntarily fortified in the
United States
[63] .
Children with chronic illnesses and conditions affect-
ing vitamin D synthesis/absorption/metabolism may also
benefit from supplementation and may require higher
doses
[58] but are not in the remit of this consensus on
NR.
2.4 Dose of Vitamin D and Calcium for the Treatment
of Nutritional Rickets
2.4.1 Recommendations
For the treatment of NR, the minimal recommended
dose of vitamin D is 2,000 IU/day (50 μg) for a mini-
mum of 3 months. (1 )
Table 2. Risk factors for NR and osteomalacia and their prevention
Maternal factors
Vitamin D deficiency
Dark skin pigmentation
Full body clothing cover
High latitude during winter/spring season
Other causes of restricted sun (UVB) exposure, e.g.
predominant indoor living, disability, pollution,
cloud cover
Low vitamin D diet
Low calcium diet
Poverty, malnutrition, special diets
Infant/childhood factors
Neonatal vitamin D deficiency secondary to maternal
deficiency/vitamin D deficiency
Lack of infant supplementation with vitamin D
Prolonged breast-feeding without appropriate
complementary feeding from 6 months
High latitude during winter/spring season
Dark skin pigmentation and/or restricted sun (UVB)
exposure, e.g. predominant indoor living, disability,
pollution, cloud cover
Low vitamin D diet
Low calcium diet
Poverty, malnutrition, special diets
Risk factors are prevented by:
Sun exposure (UVB content of sunlight depends on latitude and
season)
Vitamin D supplementation
Strategic fortification of the habitual food supply
Normal calcium intake
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Oral calcium, 500 mg/day, either as dietary intake or
supplements, should be routinely used in conjunction
with vitamin D in the treatment regardless of age or
weight. (1 )
2.4.2 Evidence
Most studies claim that the different doses common-
ly employed to treat vitamin D deficiency are safe, with
hypercalcemia and/or hypercalciuria observed as a side
effect only in a few individuals and usually seen in the
300,000- to 600,000-IU range
[64] . In a small study of
children with NR (n = 17), doses of 1,700–4,000 IU of vi-
tamin D
2 rapidly increased 25OHD concentrations with-
in 1 week and normalized calcium, phosphate, and ALP
levels at 10 weeks
[65] . In another study in children aged
2–36 months with NR (n = 19), 5,000–10,000 IU of oral
vitamin D
3 and calcium 0.5–1.0 g daily normalized serum
PTH, calcium, and phosphate within 3 weeks, although
ALP levels remained elevated
[66] .
Simultaneous administration of calcium with vitamin
D appears to be adequate and recommended by several
studies
[67, 68] . In 123 Nigerian children with NR due to
calcium deficiency, the combined end point of an ALP
level <350 U/l and radiographic evidence of near-com-
plete healing of rickets was seen in a higher percentage of
patients who received a combination of calcium and vita-
min D (58%) or calcium alone (61%) than in those who
received vitamin D alone (19%)
[5] . Similarly, in 67 In-
dian children with NR due to combined calcium and vi-
tamin D deficiency, complete healing at 12 weeks was
seen in a higher percentage with combined therapy (50%)
than with vitamin D (15.7%) or calcium alone (11.7%)
[30] .
Combined treatment is justified because studies have
shown that the diet of children and adolescents with NR
is generally low in both vitamin D and calcium
[5, 6, 30,
69] .
2.5 Appropriate Route of Administration and
Duration of Therapy
2.5.1 Recommendations
We recommend oral treatment, which more rapidly
restores 25OHD levels than intramuscular (IM) treat-
ment. (1 )
For daily treatment, both D
2 and D
3 are equally effec-
tive. (1 )
• When single large doses are used, D
3 appears to be
preferable compared to D
2 because the former has a
longer half-life. (1 )
Vitamin D treatment is recommended for a minimum
of 12 weeks, recognizing that some children may re-
quire a longer treatment duration. (1 )
2.5.2 Evidence
Some studies compared IM and oral administration of
vitamin D, but most were conducted in adults and, there-
fore, may not be entirely relevant for children with NR.
Oral or IM vitamin D was given to 24 normal volunteers
(age, 50–78 years) in a dose of 600,000 IU of D
2 or D
3 [70] .
Peak levels of 25OHD were seen at 30 and 120 days in
those given oral and IM treatment, respectively. Another
study in 92 adults with 25OHD <75 nmol/l compared
300,000 IU vitamin D
3 IM to 50,000 IU D
3 orally given on
6 occasions over 3 months
[71] . A higher proportion of
subjects receiving oral treatment had 25OHD >75 nmol/l
at 3 and 6 months than IM subjects.
One RCT in 61 children with NR compared a single
IM dose of 600,000 IU vitamin D
3 to a weekly oral dose
of 60,000 IU D
3 for 10 weeks [72] . There were no differ-
ences at 1, 4, and 12 weeks between groups in bone pro-
files, 25OHD concentrations, or side effects. A meta-anal-
ysis of studies comparing the administration of vitamin
D
2 and D
3 concluded that, when given as bolus doses,
vitamin D
3 was more effective at raising 25OHD concen-
trations, but no significant differences were seen with dai-
ly doses
[73] .
There are no RCTs on the duration of treatment for
children with NR, and most of the literature consists of re-
view articles. The review commissioned by the PES recom-
mends that daily oral treatment be given for 8–12 weeks
[74] . Similar durations between 8 and 12 weeks of daily
treatment are recommended in reviews from the United
Kingdom
[75, 76] . A duration of 3 months is recommend-
ed in a consensus statement from Australia and New Zea-
land
[77] . Given the limited evidence, we recommend a
minimum treatment duration of 12 weeks to achieve a
comprehensive healing and normalization of ALP, recog-
nizing that some children may require a longer treatment.
Several studies explored the concept of ‘stoss thera-
py,’ i.e. the administration of a large dose given as a sin-
gle dose or in divided doses over several days. This ap-
proach has been advocated for ease of use and compliance
with therapy. Three different single oral doses (150,000,
300,000, or 600,000 IU) in 56 Turkish children aged 3–36
months with NR did not affect the rate of improvement
of rickets at 30 days
[64] .
However, 8 subjects (2 in the 300,000-IU group, 6 in
the 600,000-IU group) developed hypercalcemia. A re-
cent study in India compared single oral doses of 300,000
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versus 600,000 IU of vitamin D
3 in 76 rachitic children
aged 6 months to 5 years
[78] . At 12 weeks, all children
demonstrated radiographic healing with comparable de-
creases in ALP and PTH. However, hypercalcemia oc-
curred in 5 children (6.5%) – 2 receiving 300,000 IU and
3 receiving 600,000 IU. Several review articles advocate
different recommendations with stoss therapy that are
not supported by evidence
[75–77] . The few studies com-
paring daily treatment to stoss therapy contained groups
with different subject characteristics. Although we rec-
ommend daily treatment as the first line of management,
we recognize that in some situations, stoss therapy may
be more practical. Therefore, we provide vitamin D dose
recommendations for both treatment options ( table 3 ).
Any treatment needs to be followed by supplementation
(see sections 2.1 and 2.3).
3 Prevention of Nutritional Rickets/Osteomalacia:
Identification of Risk Factors
3.1 Dietary Practices and Nutrient Intakes among
Mothers Associated with Nutritional Rickets in Infants
3.1.1 Recommendations
Maternal vitamin D deficiency should be avoided by
ensuring that women of childbearing age meet the
intakes of 600 IU/day recommended by the IOM.
(1 )
Pregnant women should receive 600 IU/day of vitamin
D, preferably as a combined preparation with other
recommended micronutrients such as iron and folic
acid. (2 )
3.1.2 Evidence
Maternal diet and nutrient intake as a predictor of in-
fantile rickets have not been addressed in the literature as
an a priori hypothesis. However, available data have been
collected during vitamin D intervention studies, case
studies, or case series in women during pregnancy.
Many cases of NR included data on maternal 25OHD
and, in some cases, dietary information
[79–81] . Neona-
tal vitamin D deficiency is always caused by maternal de-
ficiency and can have life-threatening consequences such
as hypocalcemic seizures and dilated cardiomyopathy in
unsupplemented infants
[11] . Hypocalcemia (see section
4.1.2) or other early biochemical signs of rickets (such as
elevated ALP and PTH) are present before radiographic
signs of NR occur in unsupplemented neonates and in-
fants
[82, 83] . A high percentage of mothers of infants
with symptomatic vitamin D deficiency are from high-
risk groups who are vitamin D deficient and exclusively
breast-feeding
[11, 24, 83–85] .
In a Canadian case series, 6 First Nation infants
presented with hypocalcemic seizures within the first
30 days of life, with suspected or confirmed maternal
vitamin D deficiency and a lack of supplementation
during pregnancy
[86] . All were formula fed, which sug-
gests that although their intake of vitamin D would have
been sufficient in normal circumstances, in these in-
fants the oral vitamin D supply via formula milk was
insufficient to treat their preexisting severe neonatal de-
ficiency.
Prevention of maternal deficiency is critical, and all
mothers should meet their nutritional requirement for
vitamin D, which is currently set at 600 IU/day, although
this value is not based on direct evidence from RCTs of
vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women
[28] . Po-
tentially, a higher intake of vitamin D may be required to
prevent both maternal and neonatal deficiency
[87] . Pre-
vention of congenital vitamin D deficiency is described in
section 4.4.
3.2 Early Feeding, Supplementation, Complementary
Feeding, and Nutrient Intake Associated with
Nutritional Rickets in Infants
3.2.1 Recommendations
In addition to an intake of 400 IU/day of vitamin D,
complementary foods introduced no later than 26
weeks should include sources rich in calcium.
(1 )
An intake of at least 500 mg/day of elemental calcium
must be ensured during childhood and adolescence.
(1 )
Table 3. Treatment doses of vitamin D for nutritional rickets
Age Daily dose for
90 days, IU
Single
dose, IU
Maintenance
daily dose, IU
<3 months 2,000 NA 400
3 12 months 2,000 50,000 400
>12 months to 12 years 3,000 6,000 150,000 600
>12 years 6,000 300,000 600
NA = Not available. Reassess response to treatment after 3
months as further treatment may be required. Ensure a daily cal-
cium intake of at least 500 mg. For conversion from IU to μg, di-
vide by 40.
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3.2.2 Evidence
There is abundant, yet low-quality evidence from mul-
tiple case reports, case series
[11, 48, 49, 88] , and obser-
vational studies
[1, 2, 45, 50, 85, 89–99] that exclusive
breast-feeding without vitamin D supplementation is a
major risk factor for NR in infants. Furthermore, pro-
longed breast-feeding with late introduction of comple-
mentary feeding is associated with NR in infants not re-
ceiving vitamin D supplements
[26, 100–105] . Abundant
observational data
[55, 106–111] and an RCT [25] suggest
that infants receiving vitamin D supplementation in the
first year of life are not at risk of developing NR. Evidence
for providing 400 IU/day vitamin D to infants is present-
ed in section 2.1.
Evidence primarily from developing countries dem-
onstrates that traditional diets low in calcium cause NR
[30, 43, 69, 93, 112–114] . Therefore, special diets during
infancy such as those that avoid milk and dairy products,
those using soy or rice milk that are not specifically de-
signed for infants, and/or vegan and macrobiotic diets
may predispose infants to NR
[115–120] . Recommen-
dations on sufficient calcium intake are presented in sec-
tion 1.4.
3.3 Association of Sunlight Exposure to Nutritional
Rickets
3.3.1 Recommendations
Because ultraviolet B (UVB) rays trigger the epidermal
synthesis of previtamin D
3 , restricted exposure to sun
increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency and NR.
(1 )
Environmental factors such as latitude, season, time
of day, cloud cover, and pollution affect the availabil-
ity of UVB, whereas personal factors such as time
spent outdoors, skin pigmentation, skin coverage,
age, body composition, and genetics affect the dose
response to UVB exposure and circulating 25OHD.
(2 )
No safe threshold of UV exposure allows for sufficient
vitamin D synthesis across the population without in-
creasing skin cancer risk. (2 )
3.3.2 Evidence
Solar radiation (UVB band of 290–315 nm) stimulates
synthesis of previtamin D from epidermal 7-dehydro-
cholesterol, which isomerizes to cholecalciferol and is
subsequently metabolized to 25OHD. Sun exposure in-
creases circulating 25OHD
[121–123] . Assuming UVB
availability, an individual’s capacity to synthesize vita-
min D increases with longer epidermal exposure. How-
ever, exposure can be affected by environmental factors
such as latitude, altitude, season, time of day, cloud cov-
er, and air quality
[123–129] as well as personal factors
such as occupation, lifestyle, culture such as clothing,
and preference which may modify the time spent out-
doors and/or the surface area of skin exposed to sunlight
[130–133] . Finally, the dose response of circulating
25OHD to cutaneous UVB exposure is dependent on
skin pigmentation, age, body composition, genetic fac-
tors, and baseline 25OHD levels, among others
[121, 131,
134–138] .
Abundant global observational data report an associa-
tion between restricted epidermal exposure and NR as a
consequence of vitamin D deficiency
[85, 139–143] . UV
radiation causes skin cancer, and exposure to UV radia-
tion from sunlight and artificial sources early in life ele-
vates the risk of developing skin cancer
[144] . Without
firm evidence to account for variations in age, skin color,
latitude, time of day, and time of year, it is currently im-
practical to provide prescriptive advice on safe solar ex-
posure to the population as a whole. All risk factors are
summarized in table2 .
4 Prevention of Osteomalacia during Pregnancy and
Lactation and Congenital Rickets
4.1 The Relationship between Vitamin D during
Pregnancy and Infant Growth and Bone Mass
4.1.1 Recommendations
Pregnant women should receive 600 IU/day of sup-
plemental vitamin D. This will ensure adequacy of
maternal 25OHD, especially in women at risk of defi-
ciency, to prevent elevated cord blood ALP, increased
fontanelle size, neonatal hypocalcemia and congeni-
tal rickets, and to improve dental enamel formation.
(2 )
There is little evidence that maternal supplementation
with vitamin D will protect or improve birth anthro-
pometry (2 ), and there is no evidence that sup-
plementation with vitamin D will protect or improve
short- or long-term growth or bone mass accretion.
(2 )
4.1.2 Evidence
There is moderate evidence that low maternal vitamin
D status during pregnancy is associated with elevated
cord blood ALP and larger fontanelle size at birth
[145,
146] . Moderate to strong evidence from 2 RCTs [145,
147] , 2 controlled trials [148, 149] , and 1 observational
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study [150] indicated that low maternal vitamin D status
during pregnancy increases the risk of neonatal hypocal-
cemia; however, a smaller RCT and a controlled trial did
not support these findings
[146, 151] . A single large con-
trolled trial suggests that vitamin D supplementation
during pregnancy improves dental enamel formation of
offspring
[148] .
There are conflicting data about the association be-
tween maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy and
birth anthropometry. Three RCTs of moderate to high
quality using daily dose or single high-dose regimens did
not find an association
[151–153] , whereas 2 controlled
trials of moderate-grade evidence found a positive asso-
ciation
[146, 147] . Three low- to high-quality RCTs did
not find any difference in birth anthropometry in off-
spring of mothers supplemented with 400, 2,000, or 4,000
IU/day; none of the studies had a placebo group
[87, 154,
155] .
There are inconsistent data on the association between
maternal serum 25OHD levels and linear growth during
the first year of life
[152, 156–158] and insufficient to
weak evidence for an association between maternal se-
rum 25OHD levels and bone mass or density at birth
[150, 159–162] or in later childhood [158, 163, 164] .
4.2 The Effect of Calcium Supplementation during
Pregnancy on Infant Bone Mass
4.2.1 Recommendation
Pregnant women do not need calcium intakes above
recommended nonpregnant intakes to improve neo-
natal bone. (1 )
4.2.2 Evidence
Calcium supplementation studies in pregnancy have
not had congenital or neonatal rickets as an outcome, but
3 RCTs of maternal calcium supplementation during
pregnancy measured neonatal bone
[165–167] . These
RCTs were conducted in West Africa where typical di-
etary calcium intakes are 250–300 mg/day
[165] , in the
United States with an average intake of about 2,000 mg/
day
[166] , and in a multicenter World Health Organi-
zation study in populations with dietary calcium intake
of approximately 600 mg/day (Argentina, Peru, India,
Egypt, Vietnam, South Africa)
[167] . Maternal calcium
supplementation had no effect on neonatal bone mineral
assessed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in the
Gambian and US studies, except in the latter study in the
offspring of women in the lowest quintile of dietary cal-
cium intake (<600 mg/day). There was no effect of mater-
nal calcium supplementation on neonatal or infant an-
thropometry, a finding consistent with observational
studies.
4.3 Influence of Calcium or Vitamin D
Supplementation in Pregnancy or Lactation on Breast
Milk Calcium or Vitamin D
4.3.1 Recommendations
Lactating women should ensure they meet the dietary
recommendations for vitamin D (600 IU/day) for their
own needs, but not for the needs of their infant.
(1 )
Fig. 2. Double-blind RCTs have shown that
maternal intakes of 1,000–6,400 IU/day of
vitamin D are associated with increased
breast milk vitamin D concentrations
[156,
168, 169, 171] . Lines of similar color repre-
sent the same study, and the legend pro-
vides the vitamin D supplementation dose
(IU/day unless otherwise stated). Oberhel-
man et al.
[171] reported milk concentra-
tions of cholecalciferol only.
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Lactating women should not take high amounts of vi-
tamin D as a means of supplementing their infant.
(2 )
Pregnant and lactating women should meet the rec-
ommended intakes of calcium. Maternal calcium in-
take during pregnancy or lactation is not associated
with breast milk calcium concentrations. (1 )
4.3.2 Evidence
Maternal vitamin D intake during lactation corre-
lates with milk vitamin D activity. Several double-blind
RCTs found that high maternal intakes of vitamin D
(2,000, 4,000, and 6,400 IU/day) were associated with a
higher breast milk vitamin D concentration ( fig. 2 )
[168–171] .
Supplementing mothers with high amounts of vitamin
D has been suggested as a means of increasing both ma-
ternal ( fig. 3 ) and infant serum 25OHD concentrations
[172–175] . Maternal vitamin D intakes up to 4,000 IU/
day are likely safe during pregnancy and lactation
[16] .
However, the finding that infants of mothers supple-
mented with 2,000 IU/day or more have similar serum
25OHD concentrations as infants receiving 400 IU/day
( fig. 4 ), as well as safety concerns, and our own recom-
mendation that all infants receive 400 IU vitamin D per
day lead us to advise that mothers should take recom-
mended amounts (600 IU/day) rather than higher doses
of vitamin D.
Maternal calcium intake during pregnancy or lacta-
tion does not influence breast milk calcium concentra-
tions. Only 1 observational study found a weak associa-
tion between maternal calcium intakes during pregnancy
and breast milk calcium level at day 40 (mature milk)
[176] . Numerous studies, including 2 RCTs [177, 178]
and 2 observational studies
[179, 180] , have not found a
relationship between maternal calcium intake and breast
milk calcium concentrations.
No studies have investigated the effect of maternal vi-
tamin D intake during pregnancy on either milk calcium
or vitamin D concentrations. Two double-blind RCTs
found that maternal serum 25OHD concentration or ma-
ternal intake of vitamin D (up to 4,000 IU/day) during
lactation was not associated with milk calcium concentra-
tions
[181, 182] .
4.4 Causes and Therapy of Congenital Rickets
4.4.1 Recommendation
Supplementing mothers with 600 IU/day of vitamin D
and ensuring they receive recommended calcium in-
takes, or appropriate therapy of maternal conditions
predisposing to hypocalcemia or vitamin D deficiency,
prevents congenital rickets. (2 )
Fig. 3. Double-blind RCTs have shown that
maternal serum 25OHD concentrations
are increased with vitamin D supplementa-
tion
[169, 171, 174, 182] . Most trials began
supplementation shortly after birth. Mark-
ers of similar color represent the same
study, and the legend provides the vitamin
D supplementation dose (in IU/day unless
otherwise stated). 1 ng/ml = 2.5 nmol/l.
Wtr = Winter; Sum = summer.
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4.4.2 Evidence
Approximately 80 cases of congenital rickets, defined
as babies presenting within the first 4 weeks of life with
biochemical and radiographic signs of rickets, have been
described in the medical literature. Typically, mothers of
babies with congenital rickets have osteomalacia with se-
vere vitamin D deficiency, low calcium intake, and hypo-
calcemia at delivery and had not taken vitamin D supple-
mentation during pregnancy
[83, 183–197] . In rare cases,
congenital rickets can occur when mothers have had se-
vere prolonged hypocalcemia not primarily caused by
vitamin D deficiency such as poorly treated hypopara-
thyroidism
[198–201] , renal failure [202–206] , received
phosphate-containing enemas
[207] , or iatrogenic hyper-
magnesemia
[208] .
The mechanisms for the development of congenital
rickets remain poorly understood, especially how di-
minished maternal calcium supply as the common pri-
mary maternal abnormality in all cases affects fetal min-
eralization. Clearly, congenital rickets only occurs in
extreme metabolic situations. It is fair to state that all
reported cases of congenital rickets could have been pre-
vented by vitamin D supplementation, normal calcium
intake during pregnancy, and adequate therapy of ma-
ternal conditions associated with prolonged hypocalce-
mia or vitamin D deficiency. Evidence is very limited on
the therapy for congenital rickets, but rickets is gener-
ally responsive to vitamin D with or without calcium
supplementation.
5 Assessing the Burden of Nutritional Rickets and
Public Health Strategies for Prevention
5.1 Assessment of Disease Burden
5.1.1 Recommendations
• The prevalence of rickets should be determined by
population-based samples, by case reports from senti-
nel centers, or by mandatory reporting. (1 )
Screening for NR should be based on clinical features,
followed by radiographic confirmation of suspected
cases. (1 )
AB
Fig. 4. Infant serum 25OHD concentrations by age in RCTs where either the mother was supplemented with vi-
tamin D (
A ) or the infant was supplemented ( B ) [171, 173, 175, 182] . Markers of similar color represent the same
study, and the legend provides the vitamin D supplementation dose (in IU/day unless otherwise stated). 1 ng/
ml = 2.5 nmol/l. Wtr = Winter; Sum = summer.
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Population-based screening with serum 25OHD, se-
rum ALP, or radiographs is not indicated. (1 )
5.1.2 Evidence
NR has been increasingly reported in high- and low-
income countries
[55, 209–213] . Using different method-
ology, the incidence of NR has been reported as 2.9, 4.9,
7.5, and 24 per 100,000 in Canada
[1] , Australia [2] , the
United Kingdom
[3] , and the United States [99] , respec-
tively. Many studies are hospital based but provide addi-
tional insight into the burden of NR. Infants with NR may
present with hypocalcemic seizures. The incidence of di-
lated cardiomyopathy associated with NR and hypocalce-
mia is unknown, but it is potentially the deadliest and
most economically costly complication of NR
[11] . The
methods used for the diagnosis of NR in case reports
[102] and small to large case series [104, 214–217] are
widely variable, and many lack radiographic confirma-
tion
[209] . Physician-based surveys can estimate the bur-
den of disease, but few have been done
[1, 2] . Population-
based studies provide the most accurate assessment of the
disease burden
[3, 99, 211, 218–221] . Despite differing
methodologies, published reports indicate the greatest
burden of NR is in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East due
to sun avoidance or dietary calcium insufficiency
[209,
213] .
Even high-income countries have observed a resur-
gence of NR, mainly among immigrants of African, Asian,
or Middle-Eastern origin. This overall increase in the in-
cidence of NR in high-income countries corresponds to
an increase in the number of individuals in ethnic minor-
ity, immigrant, and refugee groups
[1–4, 99, 222] . The
incidence among established Caucasian populations is
stable or decreasing. In regions with a low prevalence of
NR, inclusion of NR as a reportable disease is potentially
the most cost-effective means of case identification and
surveillance
[1, 2, 4, 99, 222] .
Measurement of serum 25OHD is useful for the diag-
nosis of vitamin D deficiency in NR, but not for popula-
tion screening
[223, 224] . Raised serum ALP has been
used as a screening tool for NR
[225] . However, acute ill-
ness, drugs, liver disease, growth spurts, and transient hy-
perphosphatasemia of infancy and childhood can all ele-
vate ALP values. Because of the invasiveness of veni-
puncture, high cost, and low positive predictive values,
serum ALP and 25OHD cannot be recommended for
population screening. Although radiographs of the wrists
and knees provide definitive confirmation of active rick-
ets
[226] , radiation exposure precludes recommending
screening radiographs in asymptomatic children.
5.2 Public Health Strategies for Rickets Prevention
5.2.1 Recommendations
Universally supplement all infants with vitamin D
from birth to 12 months of age, independently of their
mode of feeding. Beyond 12 months, supplement all
groups at risk and pregnant women. Vitamin D sup-
plements should be incorporated into childhood pri-
mary health care programs along with other essential
micronutrients and immunizations (1 ), and
into antenatal care programs along with other recom-
mended micronutrients. (2 )
Recognize NR, osteomalacia, and vitamin D and cal-
cium deficiencies as preventable global public health
problems in infants, children, and adolescents.
(1 )
Implement rickets prevention programs in populations
with a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency or lim-
ited vitamin D and/or calcium intakes and in groups of
infants and children at risk of rickets. (1 )
Monitor adherence to recommended vitamin D and
calcium intakes and implement surveillance for NR.
(1 )
Fortify staple foods with vitamin D and calcium, as ap-
propriate, based on dietary patterns. Food fortification
can prevent rickets and improve vitamin D status of
infants, children, and adolescents if appropriate foods
are used and sufficient fortification is provided, if for-
tification is supported by relevant legislation, and if the
process is adequately monitored. Indigenous food
sources of calcium should be promoted or subsidized
in children. (1 )
Promote addressing the public health impact of vita-
min D deficiency as both a clinical and a public health
issue. (1 )
5.2.2 Evidence
5.2.2.1 Vitamin D Supplementation. Infants aged 0–12
months and adolescents are at an increased risk of NR
and osteomalacia from vitamin D deficiency due to rapid
growth. Vitamin D is found in a limited number of foods,
and dietary intakes apart from fortified foods have little
impact on overall vitamin D status. Programs that deliver
micronutrient supplements provide the fastest improve-
ment in micronutrient status of individuals or targeted
populations
[227, 228] .
5.2.2.2 Food Fortification with Vitamin D. Food forti-
fication of commonly consumed staple foods safely pro-
vides adequate intake to prevent deficiency at minimal
cost. Mandatory fortification of staple foods with vitamin
D and calcium ensures nutritional adequacy
[229] . After
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vitamin D fortification of milk in North America and of
milk, margarine, and cereals in the United Kingdom, the
prevalence of NR dramatically declined, so much so that
it was considered almost eradicated
[16, 63, 228] .
Studies in adults and children highlight the need for
appropriate foods
[230] to be adequately fortified and
consumed by the at-risk segments of the population
[231]
so that vitamin D intakes of most members of a popula-
tion approach dietary recommendations
[232, 233] . Be-
cause vitamin D fortification of foods rich in calcium is
optimal for bone health, dairy products are commonly
fortified. In countries where dairy products are not wide-
ly consumed, flour, margarine, cooking oil, or soy-based
foods can be fortified with vitamin D.
Although several studies have assessed the effective-
ness of vitamin D fortification of food to increase 25OHD
concentrations in different age groups and communities,
relatively few fortification studies have targeted children.
A systematic review and meta-analysis concluded from
food-based RCTs that vitamin D-fortified foods increase
serum 25OHD and reduce the prevalence of deficiency
(<30 nmol/l) in adults, provided appropriate vehicles are
chosen based on analysis of habitual diet
[234] . Fortifica-
tion of chupatty flour (6,000 IU/kg) raised 25OHD from
approximately 12.5 nmol/l to approximately 48 nmol/l in
children over a 6-month period
[235] . Fortification of flu-
id milk and margarine was estimated to increase vitamin
D intake in 4-year-old children from 176 to 360 IU/day
(4.4 to 9 μg/day) and 25OHD concentrations from 55 to
65 nmol/l
[236] . Milk fortification has also been a success-
ful strategy to improve the vitamin D status of schoolchil-
dren in India
[237] . Fortification and supplementation
requirements may vary with population exposure to sun-
shine (see section 3)
[238] .
5.2.2.3 Food Fortification with Calcium. Inadequate di-
etary calcium intake is a risk factor for NR in children over
the age of 12 months with low dairy product intake, a com-
mon situation in low-income countries. The IOM recom-
mends a calcium intake of 500 mg/day in children aged 1–3
years when children are at the greatest risk of NR, based on
calcium retention in absorption studies
[16] . In populations
with low dairy intake such as in Africa and parts of Asia,
indigenous food sources of calcium or fortification of staple
foods with calcium can provide adequate calcium intake in
children
[213, 239] . Calcium salts can be used to fortify in-
fant formulas, complementary foods, and staple food in ar-
eas where dairy intake is low. Calcium carbonate for food
fortification is available at very low cost
[227] .
Food fortification effectively increased dietary calcium
intakes by using calcium-fortified laddoos in the diet of
underprivileged Indian toddlers
[240] and by calcium for-
tification of cereal for 7- to 12-year-old children
[241] .
More than 1,100 foods are calcium fortified in the United
States, yet dairy food makes up more than 65% of adoles-
cents’ calcium intake [242] . In the United Kingdom, cal-
cium fortification of flour is an important source of cal-
cium intake (16% of total) for young adolescent girls
[243] .
There are limited data from studies on calcium fortifica-
tion or the acceptability of dietary diversification to in-
clude locally available and affordable calcium-rich foods
in developing countries. Periodic monitoring for NR is
important to determine the effectiveness of fortification
and/or supplementation programs in preventing NR.
5.2.2.4 Health Promotion. Education of medical provid-
ers and organizations, health insurers, policy makers, gov-
ernments, public health officials, and the general public is
vital to address the public health issue of NR and vitamin
D deficiency. They should be provided with guidelines on
the importance of adequate vitamin D and calcium intakes
in children, adolescents, and pregnant and lactating wom-
en
[244] . National and global public health promotion
strategies are essential to raise professional and commu-
nity awareness, and global action to protect all children
from vitamin D and calcium deficiency is imperative.
5.3 Economic Cost/Benefits of Prevention Programs
5.3.1 Recommendation
• The cost-effectiveness of supplementation and food
fortification programs needs further study. (1 )
5.3.2 Evidence
Very weak evidence supports a policy of providing vi-
tamin D supplementation to Asian children in the United
Kingdom for the first 2 years of life
[245] . However, this
report had methodological limitations that preclude any
conclusions.
Urgent research is required to model the cost-effec-
tiveness of alternative vitamin D supplementation strate-
gies and food fortification programs. Future economic
models should include:
Resources associated with different supplementation
strategies
Indirect costs of treatment and complications
Resource use of current practice
Effectiveness of different approaches
Expected adherence
Outcomes such as quality of life associated with
25OHD levels, and
Health care costs of disease caused by both skeletal and
extraskeletal effects of vitamin D deficiency
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Costs of vitamin D supplementation and/or fortifica-
tion programs will differ depending on the target 25OHD
level and population characteristics. Subgroup analyses
targeting high-risk groups, such as people with darkly
pigmented skin, limited sun exposure, and low calcium
intakes, should be conducted.
Conclusion
Vitamin D deficiency should be considered a major
global public health priority. NR can have severe conse-
quences, including death from cardiomyopathy or ob-
structed labor, myopathy, seizures, pneumonia, lifelong de-
formity and disability, impaired growth, and pain. NR is the
‘tip of the iceberg’, and its resurgence indicates widespread
vitamin D deficiency with important public health implica-
tions. NR and osteomalacia are fully preventable disorders
that are on the rise worldwide and should be regarded as a
global epidemic. We advocate for the eradication of NR and
osteomalacia through vitamin D supplementation of all in-
fants, pregnant women, and individuals from high-risk
groups and the implementation of international food forti-
fication programs to ensure nutritional sufficiency of vita-
min D and calcium for the whole population. This consen-
sus document provides policy makers with a reference
framework to work toward the global eradication of rickets.
Appendix: Affiliations of Consensus Group Members
Magda Aguiar, Health Economics Unit, University of Birming-
ham, Birmingham, UK
Navoda Atapattu, Lady Ridgeway Hospital, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Vijayalakshmi Bhatia, Department of Endocrinology, Sanjay
Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Uttar Pradesh,
India
Christian Braegger, Division of Gastroenterology and Nutri-
tion and Children’s Research Center, University Children’s Hos-
pital, Zurich, Switzerland
Gary Butler, Department of Paediatric and Adolescent Endo-
crinology, University College London Hospital, London, UK
Hamilton Cassinelli, Endocrinology Division, Ricardo Gutier-
rez Children’s Hospital, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Linda A. DiMeglio, Section of Pediatric Endocrinology/Diabe-
tology, Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health,
Indianapolis, Ind., USA
Emma Frew, Health Economics Unit, University of Birming-
ham, Birmingham, UK
Junfen Fu, Division of Endocrinology, Children’s Hospital of
Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China
Gail Goldberg, Nutrition and Bone Health Research Group,
Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research, Elsie Wid-
dowson Laboratory, Cambridge, UK
Wolfgang Högler, Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes,
Birmingham Children’s Hospital; Institute of Metabolism and Sys-
tem’s Research, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
Elina Hyppönen, School of Population Health and Sansom Re-
search Institute, University of South Australia, and South Austra-
lian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, S.A., Austra-
lia; Population Policy and Practice, University College London In-
stitute of Child Health, London, UK
Hafsatu Wasagu Idris, Endocrinology and Gastroenterology
Unit, Department of Paediatrics, Ahmadu Bello University Teach-
ing Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria
Rajesh Khadgawat, Department of Endocrinology and Metab-
olism, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
Mairead Kiely, Vitamin D Research Group, School of Food and
Nutritional Sciences, and Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal
Translational Research (INFANT), University College Cork, Cork,
Ireland
Jane Maddock, Institute of Child Health, University College
London, London, UK
Outi Mäkitie, Children’s Hospital, University of Helsinki and
Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
Toshimi Michigami, Department of Bone and Mineral Re-
search, Research Institute, Osaka Medical Center for Maternal and
Child Health, Osaka, Japan
M. Zulf Mughal, Department of Paediatric Endocrinology,
Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester, UK
Craig F. Munns, Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes,
Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia
Abiola Oduwole, College of Medicine University of Lagos, La-
gos, Nigeria
Keiichi Ozono, Department of Pediatrics, Osaka University
Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan
John M. Pettifor, Medical Research Council/Wits Develop-
mental Pathways for Health Research Unit, Department of Paedi-
atrics, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Af-
rica
Pawel Pludowski, Department of Biochemistry, Radioimmu-
nology, and Experimental Medicine, Children’s Memorial Health
Institute, Warsaw, Poland
Lorna Ramos-Abad, University of the Philippines College of
Medicine, Manila, The Philippines
Lars Sävendahl, Department of Women’s and Children’s
Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Anju Seth, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Lady Hardinge
Medical College and Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital, New Del-
hi, India
Nick Shaw, Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Bir-
mingham Children’s Hospital, Birmingham, UK
Bonny L. Specker, Ethel Austin Martin Program, South Da-
kota State University, Brookings, S.Dak., USA
Tom D. Thacher, College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester,
Minn., USA
Dov Tiosano, Department of Pediatrics, Rambam Medical
Center, Haifa, Israel
Ted Tulchinsky, Braun School of Public Health, Hebrew Uni-
versity-Hadassah, Jerusalem, Israel; Public Health Reviews, Brus-
sels, Belgium
Leanne Ward, Department of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa,
and Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Children’s Hos-
pital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Ont., Canada
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Acknowledgments
Editorial support was provided by Sally Farrand. The consen-
sus was financially supported by ESPE, PES, SLEP, ASPAE, ISPAE,
CSPEM, JSPE, APEG, APPES, ESPGHAN, and an educational
grant by Danone Nutricia.
Disclosure Statement
M.Z.M. has received honoraria and lecture fees from Nutricia
and Alexion. T.D.T. is a consultant for Biomedical Systems. W.H.
has received honoraria and lecture fees from Internis and Alexion.
No other author has anything to disclose.
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... This Brazilian recommendation is similar to the Italian Consensus, based on a review of definitions of vitamin D status made by various international societies and organizations over the last 10 years (until the date of publication): severe deficiency (<10 ng/mL or 25 nmol/L), deficiency (<20 ng/mL or 50 nmol/L), insufficiency (20-29 ng/mL or 50-74 nmol/L), and sufficiency (>30 ng/mL or 75 nmol/L) [50]. However, both differ from the Global Consensus Recommendations on Prevention and Management of Nutritional Rickets, published in 2016, which uses only three levels: deficiency (<12 ng/mL or 30 nmol/L), insufficiency (12-20 ng/mL or 30-50 nmol/L), and sufficiency (>20 ng/mL or 50 nmol/L) [58]. ...
... Furthermore, for the treatment of rickets the Global Consensus proposesa minimum supplementation of 2,000 IU/day for children under 1 year, corroborating the aforementioned consensus, in addition to 3,000 to 6,000 IU/day for patients between 1 and 12 years old and 6,000 UI/day for over-12 s. However, they believe that a period of at least 12 weeks of intervention is ideal, as some children may require longer-term treatment [58]. ...
... In agreement with the latter, the Global Consensus also recommends both cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol for treatment in the form of daily doses. However, for high single doses, they suggest the use of cholecalciferol, due to its longer shelf life [58]. ...
Article
Objectives To evaluate the effect of vitamin D supplementation on glycemic control in children and adolescents with T1DM. Content A systematic search was conducted of the Medline/Pubmed, Web of Science, Embase, BVS/Lilacs, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Cinahl, Food Science, and FSTA databases. Two reviewers independently extracted article data and assessed quality. Summary A total of 1,613 eligible articles were retrieved, ten of which met the selection criteria: eight clinical trials, one retrospective cohort study, and one cross-sectional study. Regarding the cutoff points used to classify vitamin D status, most of the studies set deficiency at 25-hydroxyvitamin D <20 ng/mL, sufficiency at ≥30 ng/mL, and insufficiency as the interval between these values. Regarding intervention strategies, most used cholecalciferol for supplementation, but there was great variation in the dose and supplementation time. When evaluating the effect of vitamin D supplementation on HbA1c, a significant improvement in glycemic control was observed in 50% of the studies. However, only one of these studies was classified as being of positive methodological quality, with three having their quality classified as neutral and one as negative. Outlook There is yet no consistent evidence on the effect of vitamin D supplementation on glycemic control as an adjuvant in the treatment of children and adolescents with T1DM.
... Conventionally, serum 25-OH-D < 20 ng/ml, < 12 ng/ml, and < 5 ng/ml have been considered vitamin D insufficiency (VDI), vitamin D deficiency (VDD), and severe vitamin D deficiency (severe VDD), respectively [29]. The reported prevalence of VDI in early infancy varies from 40 to 83% among term breastfed infants, not receiving any vitamin D supplement [22][23][24]. ...
... Hence, vitamin D 3 supplementation is essential for exclusively breastfed infants and is the standard of care. Most authorities recommend a dose of 400 IU/ day of vitamin D supplementation for breastfed infants [25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]. This dose of 400 IU of vitamin D was estimated to be sufficient to achieve serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D) concentrations ≥ 20 ng/mL in 97.5% of individuals [25]; however, studies from different parts of the world have shown that this dose may not be able to maintain adequate serum 25-OH-D levels [33][34][35][36]. ...
... The primary outcome was proportion of infants with VDI (serum 25-OH-D < 20 ng/ml) at 14 weeks' age [29]. Secondary outcomes included VDD (< 12 ng/ml) [29], severe VDD (< 5 ng/ml) [29], hyperparathyroidism (intact PTH > 46 pg/ ml) [41,42], hypercalcemia (total serum calcium > 12 mg/ dl) [25], elevated ALP (> 400 IU/L) [43], vitamin D excess (> 100 ng/ml) [29], VDT (hypercalcemia and serum 25-OH-D levels > 100 ng/ml, with hypercalciuria and suppressed PTH), [29] upper or lower respiratory tract morbidities, seizure, and any hospitalization. ...
Article
Full-text available
This open-label, block-randomized controlled trial compared the effect of 800 IU/day and 400 IU/day of oral vitamin D3 supplementation in reducing vitamin D insufficiency (VDI) among healthy-term breastfed infants at 14 weeks of postnatal age. All eligible infants were randomized to receive either 800 or 400 IU/day of oral vitamin D3 (starting within the first week until 14 weeks). The primary outcome was the proportion of infants with VDI (25-OH-D < 20 ng/ml) at 14 weeks. Secondary outcomes were vitamin D deficiency (VDD, < 12 ng/ml), severe VDD (< 5 ng/ml), anthropometry, biochemical or clinical rickets, and any adverse events related to vitamin D toxicity (VDT). Among 102 enrolled infants, the distribution of baseline variables (including cord 25-OH-D levels; 13.0 versus 14.2 ng/ml) was similar in both groups. On intention-to-treat analysis, the proportions of infants with VDI at 14 weeks were significantly lower in the 800 IU group compared to those in the 400 IU group [24% versus 55%; RR 0.44; 95% CI: 0.25–0.76]. The proportions of infants with elevated parathormone (6% versus 26.5%; p = 0.012) and severe VDD (0% versus 12.2%; p = 0.033) were significantly lower in the 800 IU group. Clinical rickets developed in three (6.2%) infants in the 400 IU group. No infant developed VDT. Conclusions: Daily oral supplementation with 800 IU of vitamin D3 resulted in an almost 50% reduction in the proportion of infants with VDI and prevented the occurrence of severe VDD at 14 weeks of age compared to 400 IU with no evidence of vitamin D toxicity. Trial Registration: Clinical Trial Registry of India (CTRI/2019/02/017374). What is Known: • Breastfeeding is the ideal source of nutrition for healthy-term breastfed infants; however, vitamin D content of breastmilk is suboptimal. • AAP recommends daily oral supplementation of 400 IU of vitamin D to all healthy-term breastfed infants; however, trials from high-income countries support insufficiency of this dose in maintaining serum 25-OH-D levels >20 ng/ml with no such information from low-middle-income countries. What is New: • 800 IU/day of oral vitamin D3 supplementation among term breastfed infants significantly reduces vitamin D insufficiency at 14 weeks’ age as compared to the recommended dose of 400 IU/day. • This higher supplemental dose is safe with no evidence of vitamin D toxicity.
... The US National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF)'s position statement on modifiable lifestyle factors that can influence the development of PBM highlighted that amongst the nutritionrelated factors, calcium and vitamin D received a Grade A and B, respectively, within their strength of available evidence grading system [5]. This adjudged strong and moderate evidence in relation to calcium and vitamin D, respectively, is also reflected in several other important reports from authorities in the US [6][7][8], Europe [9,10], and more globally [11,12]. ...
... In terms of assessment of population vitamin D nutriture, serum 25(OH)D concentrations (reflecting the contributions from both diet and dermal synthesis [47]) needs to be considered together with dietary intake data for the vitamin [7]. The IOM and other agencies/expert groups have used serum 25(OH)D concentrations below a threshold of 30 nmol/L as being indicative of increased risk of vitamin D deficiency [7,10,12], as reflected by impaired fractional calcium absorption, lower bone mineral content and/or density as well as increased risk of rickets/osteomalacia [7]. In the present study, 21.7% of a representative sample of 13-18-year-old teenagers in Ireland (51-54 °N) had serum 25(OH)D concentrations < 30 nmol/L across the year, and the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was higher (27.2%) in subjects sampled during extended winter (November-March). ...
Article
Full-text available
Context and purpose In light of the key roles of vitamin D and calcium in adolescent bone health, there is a critical need for representative data on nutritional status for both micronutrients in teenagers. The present work used data from the recent representative National Teens’ Food Survey II (2019–2020) to assess calcium and vitamin D intakes of teenagers in Ireland, including adequacy of such intakes, as well as, for the first time, to characterise serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations and their determinants. Methods Usual calcium and vitamin D intake estimates were generated using food intake data (via 4-day weighed food records) from a nationally representative sample of teenagers aged 13–18 years in Ireland ( n 428). Serum 25(OH)D was measured (via LC–MS/MS) in the 57.5% ( n 246) who provided a blood sample. Results Sixty-seven and 94% of Irish teenagers had intakes of calcium and vitamin D below the respective Estimated Average Requirements values, reflecting a high degree of inadequacy of intake for both micronutrients (and higher in girls than boys; P < 0.001). In addition, 21.7% and 33.1% of teenagers had serum 25(OH)D < 30 nmol/L (risk of vitamin D deficiency) and 30–49.9 nmol/L (inadequacy), respectively. Extended winter sampling, being aged 16–18 years, low total vitamin D intake, being overweight/obese or being of non-white skin type were significant ( P < 0.05) predictors of serum 25(OH)D < 30 nmol/L. Conclusions There was a high prevalence of inadequacy of intake of calcium and vitamin D in Irish teenagers, and a fifth were at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
... All patients with a vitamin D deficiency (25-OH Vitamin D < 20 ng/ml), as defined by Holick (34) and no signs for decreased renal function or hypercalcemia were started on 1,000 IU of oral Vitamin D3 daily according to the global consensus recommendations (35). 25-OH vitamin D levels were reassessed 3 months later (if possible) and during the regular follow up visit the following year in the survivorship clinic. ...
Article
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Background Childhood primary brain tumors (CPBT) are the second largest group of childhood malignancies and associated with a high risk for endocrine late effects. Objective To assess endocrine late effects and their relevance for the development of osteopathologies in survivors. Methods This single center cross sectional study investigated data from 102 CPBT survivors with a mean age of 13.0 years and a mean age at diagnosis of 8.7 years. Clinical, biochemical, radiographic, and anamnestic data regarding endocrine and bone health were obtained at study visits. In addition, data regarding tumor stage and therapy was obtained by chart review. An expert opinion was applied to define presence of osteopathologies. Results Impaired bone health, defined by at least one pathological screening parameter, was present in 65% of patients. 27.5% were found to have overt osteopathologies per expert opinion. 37.8% displayed a severe vitamin D deficiency (25-OH vitamin D < 10 ng/ml) and 11% a secondary hyperparathyroidism. Patients with osteopathologies had lower 25-OH vitamin D levels compared to patients without osteopathologies. Multiple endocrine late effects were present: diabetes insipidus in 10.8%, aberrant pubertal development in 13.7%, central hypocortisolism in 14.9%, thyroid dysfunction in 23.8% and growth hormone deficiency in 21.8%. A total of 31.3% of survivors displayed any endocrinopathy. Tumors located near hypothalamic structures and patients who received irradiation had a higher likelihood of endocrine morbidity. Conclusion This study indicates that endocrine deficiencies are common in pediatric survivors of CPBTs. Osteopathologies are present in this cohort. A prominent effect of hormonal deficiencies on bone health was not detected, possibly because patients were sufficiently treate for their endocrine conditions or indicating resilience of the childhood bone remodeling process. Vitamin D deficiency is frequent and should be treated as recommended.
... 7 regions of the world differ based on many population-specific factors such as sunlight exposure, skin pigmentation, clothing, and dietary practices [Haq et al., 2018;Munns et al., 2016;Pérez-López et al., 2012;Płudowski et al., 2013;Rizzoli et al., 2013;Society, 2012]. ...
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A physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model of vitamin D3 and metabolites [25(OH)D3, 1,25(OH)2D3, and 24,25(OH)2D3] is presented. In this study, patients with 25(OH)D3 plasma concentrations below 30 ng/ml were studied after a single dose of 5,000 I.U. (125 µg) cholecalciferol, provided with 5,000 I.U. daily cholecalciferol supplementation until vitamin D replete (25(OH)D3 plasma concentrations above 30 ng/ml), and had serial plasma samples were collected at each phase for 14 days. Total concentrations of vitamin D3 and metabolites were measured by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. A nine-compartment PBPK model was built using MATLAB to represent the triphasic study nature (insufficient, replenishing, sufficient). Stimulatory and inhibitory effect of 1,25(OH)2D3 were incorporated by fold-changes in the primary metabolic enzymes CYP27B1 and CYP24A1, respectively. Incorporation of dynamic adipose partition coefficients for vitamin D3 and 25(OH)D3 and variable enzymatic reactions aided in model fitting. Measures of model predictions agreed well with data from metabolites, with 97%, 88%, and 98% of the data for 25(OH)D3, 24,25(OH)2D3, and 1,25(OH)2D3, respectively, within 2-fold of unity (fold error values between 0.5 and 2.0). Bootstrapping was performed and optimized parameters were reported with 95% confidence intervals. This PBPK model could be a useful tool for understanding the connections between vitamin D and its metabolites under a variety of clinical situations. Significance Statement This study developed a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model of vitamin D3 and three metabolites for patients moving from a depleted to a repleted phase over a period of 16 weeks.
... e association between mild vitamin D deficiency and fracture risk in healthy children remains debatable. A previous global consensus statement indicated that children with radiographically confirmed rickets have an increased risk of fracture and that children with mild vitamin D deficiency do not have an increased risk of fracture based on observational studies and case reports [21]. Ryan et al. evaluated vitamin D status and the risk of forearm fracture [22]. ...
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Background: Although it is generally agreed that vitamin D is important for bone health, the role of vitamin D in preventing fractures in children and adolescents remains unclear. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in healthy Korean children with fractures. Our secondary aim was to compare serum vitamin D levels before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Methods: We evaluated 334 patients with fractures who were surgically treated at our institution between 2018 and 2019 before the onset of COVID-19 (group I). In addition, we collected data on the serum 25(OH)D levels of 210 patients who visited our pediatric department for evaluation of short stature (group II) and the serum 25(OH)D levels of the patients with fractures during the COVID-19 pandemic period (group III). A serum 25(OH)D level of <20 ng/mL was considered deficient, between 20 and 32 ng/mL was insufficient, and ≥32 ng/mL was considered sufficient. Results: The mean age was 8.1 ± 3.5 years in group I, 8.2 ± 3.7 years in group II, and 8.6 ± 3.5 years in group III. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 53.0% in group I and 32.9% in group II. The mean serum 25(OH)D level was lower in group I than in group II (20.0 ± 7.3 ng/ml vs. 23.2 ± 6.9 ng/ml, p < 0.001). The mean serum 25(OH)D level of younger patients (<10 years) in group III was lower than that of the younger patients in the prepandemic period (21.4 ± 7.2 ng/mL vs. 19.2 ± 6.8 ng/mL, p=0.037). Conclusions: We observed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency in children with fractures who required surgical treatment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the serum vitamin D levels became even lower, especially in younger children.
... This is likely to be more necessary in states of low calcium intake; indeed, there is evidence that the biochemical consequences of vitamin D deficiency are more marked when there is concomitant low dietary calcium intake. (34) In the present case, we are considering the child's calcium intake from milk in relation to their in utero vitamin D exposure as a result of maternal randomization to cholecalciferol or placebo. Consistent with these findings, we have previously demonstrated, in a population with adequate vitamin D levels, that lower calcium intake during pregnancy is associated with lower bone mass in childhood. ...
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In the Maternal Vitamin D Osteoporosis Study (MAVIDOS) randomized trial, vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy did not lead to greater neonatal bone mass across the trial as a whole, but, in a prespecified secondary analysis by season of birth, led to greater neonatal bone mass among winter-born babies. Demonstrating persistence of this effect into childhood would increase confidence in a long-term benefit of this intervention. We investigated whether antenatal vitamin D supplementation increases offspring bone mineralization in early childhood in a prespecified, single-center follow-up of a double-blinded, multicenter, randomized controlled clinical trial based in the UK (MAVIDOS). A total of 1123 women in early pregnancy with a baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D level 25–100 nmol/L from three research centers (2008–2014) were randomized to 1000 IU/d cholecalciferol or matched placebo from 14 weeks of gestation to delivery. Offspring born at the Southampton, UK research center were assessed at age 4 years (2013–2018). Anthropometry and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) were performed (yielding whole body less head [WBLH] bone mineral content [BMC], areal bone mineral density [aBMD], bone area [BA], and body composition). Of 723 children, 564 (78.0%) children attended the 4-year visit, 452 of whom had a useable DXA. Maternal vitamin D supplementation led to greater WBLH aBMD in the children compared with placebo (mean [95% confidence interval {CI}]: supplemented group: 0.477 (95% CI, 0.472–0.481) g/cm2; placebo group: 0.470 (95% CI, 0.466–0.475) g/cm2, p = 0.048). Associations were consistent for BMC and lean mass, and in age- and sex-adjusted models. Effects were observed across the whole cohort irrespective of season of birth. Maternal-child interactions were observed, with a greater effect size among children with low milk intake and low levels of physical activity. Child weight, height, and body mass index (BMI) were similar by maternal randomization group. These findings suggest a sustained beneficial effect of maternal vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy on offspring aBMD at age 4 years, but will require replication in other trials.
... [11] Lack of adequate updating about vitamin D role for physicians are associated with the lack of adequate recommendations about vitamin D supplementation by professional organizations may also contribute to the development of rickets in exclusively breast-fed infants. [12] The aim of study to assess maternal knowledge about vitamin D supplementation to their infants and the relation of maternal knowledge about vitamin D to sociodemographic factors for both mother and infant. ...
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ABSTRACT Introduction: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption and skeletal growth, and deficiency of vitamin D can cause nutritional rickets. Although considered a historical disease after the advent of vitamin D fortification of foods, rickets persists worldwide, typically in un supplemented exclusively breastfed infants. The aim of the study is to assess maternal knowledge about vitamin D supplementation to their infants and the relation of maternal knowledge about vitamin D to sociodemographic factors for both mother and infant. Method: A descriptive-analytic cross-sectional study, was conducted at five primary health care centers in Babylon city from the first of February 2020 until the first of February 2021. 383 mothers of infants under six months attending primary health care centers for routine vaccination and follow up of their infants were included in the study. A questionnaire-based study was used. A scoring system was designed for knowledge. Statistical analyses were done using SPSS version 26. The Chi-square test and multinomial logistic regression test were used to show the association between knowledge, mother and infant variables. Results: The results showed that (43.3%) and (31.9%) of participants had fair and good knowledge about vitamin D respectively. Only (42.8%) of infants received vitamin D supplements. Good knowledge was significantly associated with younger age mothers and mixed infant feeding (P-value ? 0.05). While there was no association with occupation, residence, socioeconomic status, or educational level of mothers. The main source of information about vitamin D was the health staff (44.13%). Conclusion: The study revealed that the overall knowledge about vitamin D is good.
Chapter
Complementary feeding, from 6 to 24 months of age, is a critical period for nutrient adequacy as children transition from an exclusively milk based diet to one in which nutrient requirements are met from all food groups. Therefore, evidence-based food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) are critical to promote optimal nutrition and health in early development. We review the main considerations in establishing quantitative FBDG for infants and toddlers. We also conducted a descriptive analysis evaluating the extent to which existing quantitative FBDG from developed countries align with nutrient reference values (NRVs). Quantitative FBDG from five countries were identified using pre-defined criteria. Seven-day menus were constructed using each FBDG and the nutrient content was compared to global and country-specific NRV. The FBDG could be translated to provide menus adequate in energy and macronutrients. Some of the FBDG translated menus were below NRV for key nutrients (potassium, calcium, zinc, iron, and vitamin D). FBDG developed using linear programming tended to best approximate micronutrient targets. In conclusion, quantitative FBDG for complementary feeding in several countries are not fully aligned with key nutrient requirements. Analytic approaches, such as linear programming, are helpful to guide the development of FBDG, particularly for difficult to reach nutrients.
Article
Adolescents with overweight/obesity are at risk for vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency. Both overweight/obesity and vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency may predispose to fractures. We enrolled 103 participants (53.3% females, 15.9 ± 2.2 years) in a retrospective case-control study to determine whether an association exists between fractures and a low 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) among adolescents whose body mass index (BMI) ≥ 85 percentile. Cases (n = 28) sustaining a low/medium impact fracture were matched to controls (n = 75) without a fracture history. A conditional-logistic regression analysis addressing the common vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency cutoffs was used. Overweight, obesity, and significant obesity rates were 10.7%, 53.4%, and 35.9%, respectively. Mean (±SD) 25(OH)D was 16.5 ± 6.4 ng/mL. In all, 25(OH)D insufficiency rates (level <20 ng/mL) were 70.5%. Matched cases and controls had similar 25(OH)D insufficiency/deficiency rates ( P > .05). Controlling for race and seasonality showed no association between fractures and 25(OH)D insufficiency/deficiency ( P > .05). These data suggest that fractures are not associated with low 25(OH)D levels among adolescents whose BMI ≥ 85th percentile.
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Objective. This study describes the magnitude and characteristics of nutritional rickets and associated risk factors among children in Qatar. Subjects. A consecutive sample of 730 healthy subjects who visited the primay health care clinics were approached and 540 (73.9%) subjects gave consent. Mehods. Nutritional rickets diagnosis was based on clinical radiologic and biochemical parameters and normalization of alkaline phosphatase level after 6 weeks course of daily vitamin D therapy. Results. The study revealed that 23.9% of the studied children had nutritional rickets. The mean SD age of those with rickets (3.76 years 1.51) was slightly higher than those without rickets (3.57 years 1.45). Family history of vitamin D deficiency (44.2%; P = .001) and diabetes mellitus (53.5%; P = .002) were significantly higher in rachitic children than in nonrachitic children. The children with rickets spent a significantly shorter average duration (26.86 minutes 19.94) under the sun than those without rickets (30.59 minutes 15.72; ). A significantly larger proportion of rachitic children was afflicted with vitamin D deficiency (75.2% versus 62.2%; ), secondary hypothyroidism (100% versus 7.5%; P = .009) and muscular weakness (56.6% versus 26.3%; ). Conclusion. The most important risk factors were low vitamin D and calcium intakes, lack of exposure to sunlight, prolonged breast feeding without supplementation of vitamin D.
Article
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Low dietary calcium intakes and poor vitamin D status are common findings in children living in developing countries. Despite many of the countries lying within the tropics and subtropics, overcrowding, atmospheric pollution, a lack of vitamin D-fortified foods, and social customs that limit skin exposure to sunlight are major factors in the development of vitamin D deficiency. Low dietary calcium intakes are typically observed as a consequence of a diet limited in dairy products and high in phytates and oxalates which reduce calcium bioavailability. Calcium intakes of many children are a third to a half of the recommended intakes for children living in developed countries, yet the consequences of these low intakes are poorly understood as there is limited research in this area. It appears that the body adapts very adequately to these low intakes through reducing renal calcium excretion and increasing fractional intestinal absorption. However, severe deficiencies of either calcium or vitamin D can result in nutritional rickets, and low dietary calcium intakes in association with vitamin D insufficiency act synergistically to exacerbate the development of rickets. Calcium supplementation in children from developing countries slightly increases bone mass, but the benefit is usually lost on withdrawal of the supplement. It is suggested that the major effect of calcium supplementation is on reducing the bone remodelling space rather than structurally increasing bone size or volumetric bone density. Limited evidence from one study raises concerns about the use of calcium supplements in children on habitually low calcium intakes as the previously supplemented group went through puberty earlier and had a final height several centimetres shorter than the controls. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Conference Paper
Historically, food fortification programs were often undertaken with little attention to issues such as micronutrient bioavailability, optimal levels of addition, or efficacy or to monitoring impact on nutritional status, health, and human function. Several developments in recent years have enabled substantial progress to be made in the design and evaluation of fortification programs. The methodology for estimating the prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes in a population and tolerable upper intake levels has been established and can be used as the basis for estimating desirable amounts of nutrient addition. More attention is being paid to assessing the bioavailability of nutrients (especially minerals) using stable and radioactive isotopes, and bioavailability of iron compounds can be estimated from changes in total body iron calculated from the ratio of transferrin receptors to serum ferritin. Procedures for quality control of the fortification process have been established. New approaches to monitoring the impact of fortification over time include assessment of liver retinol stores using retinol isotope dilution. In summary, the design and evaluation of food fortification programs now requires a series of formative research procedures on the part of nutritionists, which were not often expected or conducted in the past.
Chapter
Rickets is a clinical syndrome that occurs in children as a result of a failure of or delay in mineralization of the growth plate of growing bones. There are numerous causes, the majority of which can be grouped into three major categories-those which primarily result in a failure to maintain normal calcium homeostasis; those which primarily affect phosphate homeostasis; and those which directly inhibit the mineralization process. Globally, rickets due to nutritional causes remains the most frequent form of the disease seen. Despite readily accessible and effective means to eradicate rickets globally, the disease remains a major public health problem in many countries, not only in temperate regions of the world but also in tropical and subtropical countries. In many developed countries, the promotion of exclusive breast-feeding during the first six months of life and the concerns about the long-term effect of sunlight exposure during this period have exacerbated the risks of vitamin D deficiency in the young infant. In some subtropical countries, social customs play an important role in preventing adequate vitamin D status not only in the young infant but also in the pregnant and lactating mother. In a number of developing countries, low dietary calcium intakes appear to play a major role in the pathogenesis of rickets in older children. Recent studies have helped to provide an all-embracing concept of the interaction of vitamin D and calcium intakes in the pathogenesis of rickets.
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In recent years, reports suggesting a resurgence of vitamin D deficiency in the Western world, combined with various proposed health benefits for vitamin D supplementation, have resulted in increased interest from health care professionals, the media, and the public. The aim of this position paper is to summarise the published data on vitamin D intake and prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the healthy European paediatric population, to discuss the health benefits of vitamin D and to provide recommendations for the prevention of vitamin D deficiency in this population. Vitamin D plays a key role in calcium and phosphate metabolism and is essential for bone health. There is insufficient evidence from interventional studies to support vitamin D supplementation for other health benefits in infants, children, and adolescents. The pragmatic use of a serum concentration >50 nmol/L to indicate sufficiency and a serum concentration <25 nmol/L to indicate severe deficiency is recommended. Vitamin D deficiency occurs commonly among healthy European infants, children, and adolescents, especially in certain risk groups, including breast-fed infants, not adhering to the present recommendation for vitamin D supplementation, children and adolescents with dark skin living in northern countries, children and adolescents without adequate sun exposure, and obese children. Infants should receive an oral supplementation of 400 IU/day of vitamin D. The implementation should be promoted and supervised by paediatricians and other health care professionals. Healthy children and adolescents should be encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle associated with a normal body mass index, including a varied diet with vitamin D-containing foods (fish, eggs, dairy products) and adequate outdoor activities with associated sun exposure. For children in risk groups identified above, an oral supplementation of vitamin D must be considered beyond 1 year of age. National authorities should adopt policies aimed at improving vitamin D status using measures such as dietary recommendations, food fortification, vitamin D supplementation, and judicious sun exposure, depending on local circumstances.
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: Vitamin D deficiency rickets, a disease once considered conquered, is being diagnosed with increasing frequency. Factors evident in at-risk children include dark skin, long-term breast-feeding without vitamin D supplementation, lack of sunlight exposure, and post-weaning consumption of vegetarian diets or milk without vitamin D. Health care providers should be aware of possible presentations including bowed legs, bone fractures, growth failure, delayed walking, and symptoms of severe hypocalcemia (ie, seizures and tetany). Vitamin D deficiency rickets is a totally preventable disease. Organizations representing pediatric health care providers need to increase awareness of this disease and advocate vitamin D supplementation for children at risk.