A 19th-century scourge has returned
In America, malnourished kids are more likely to be obese than skinny. So doctors initially found it hard to believe when children started showing up at their offices with rickets, the soft-bone disease that affected the starving children of the 19th century. Growing bones need calcium, exercise, and vitamin D to strengthen, and too many of the nation’s kids aren’t getting nearly enough milk, activity, and vitamin D–producing sunshine. The bones of children with rickets can be so weak that their legs bow out, but it often isn’t symptomatic until adulthood, when hollowed-out bones start to fracture and bend. By depriving them of proper nutrition, sports, and sun, we’re raising an entire generation at enormous risk for osteoporosis, bone health expert Dr. Laura Tosi tells Newsday. “This potentially is a time bomb.”