Papers And Originals

Serum Alkaline Phosphatase and Rickets in Urban Schoolchildren

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: (Published 10 February 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:324
  1. W. T. Cooke,
  2. C. H. J. Swan,
  3. P. Asquith,
  4. V. Melikian,
  5. W. E. McFeely


    Among 569 schoolchildren (386 boys and 183 girls) aged 14-17 years, 233 had serum alkaline phosphatase values of 30 K.A. units or greater. There was no significant difference in the results in Asian, white, or West Indian children. The mean values were significantly greater in boys than girls and both showed a fall in mean values with increasing age. Radiological rickets occurred in at least 4% of the survey, and was more common in Asians. Low calcium and high hydroxyproline excretion in most of those investigated and the response to vitamin D therapy suggests that most children with alkaline phosphatase levels above 30 K.A. units have rickets.

    Since the decline of the widespread supplementation of the diet with vitamin D, the demands of the physiological growth spurt for extra vitamin D in adolescents already on a borderline intake may be responsible for the great increase in “biochemical” rickets. Once the growth spurt is over the condition subsides but the results of impaired growth or permanent pelvic deformity will not necessarily be eradicated.