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Papers And Originals

Rickets and Osteomalacia in the Glasgow Pakistani Community, 1961-71

Br Med J 1972; 2 doi: (Published 17 June 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;2:677
  1. J. A. Ford,
  2. E. M. Colhoun,
  3. W. B. McIntosh,
  4. M. G. Dunnigan


    The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was reassessed in April and May 1971, 10 years after the discovery of widespread late rickets and osteomalacia in the Glasgow Pakistani community. Evidence of vitamin D deficiency was found in 28 out of 115 adults and children examined (24%). Children at the age of puberty were most severely affected by rickets, whereas most infants and younger children in the survey were protected by vitamin D supplements. Mild biochemical osteomalacia was common in Pakistani women.

    A total of 21 Pakistani and Indian children with rickets were admitted to Glasgow hospitals during 1968-70. These comprised 10 children with infantile rickets and 11 with late rickets. Four of the latter group required osteotomy for severe rachitic deformity.

    Late rickets and osteomalacia in Pakistani and Indian immigrants are not primarily due to nutritional deficiency of vitamin D, though the high phytate content of their diet may be of aetiological importance. A combination of environmental, social, and endogenous factors, the relative importance of which is not at present clear, may also be involved. Advice on the prophylaxis of vitamin D deficiency should be given to all Pakistani and Indian communities in the United Kingdom.