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Epidemiology of nutritional rickets in children

Keywords: Nutritional rickets , Epidemiology , Saudi Arabia

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In most developing countries, nutritional rickets is a major health problem. The aim of this study was to explore the magnitude of nutritional rickets among Saudi infants, and the various clinical presentations, as well as to address the possible operating risk factors behind the disease. We carried out a retrospective study at King Abdulaziz Medical City-King Fahad National Guard Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The records of Saudi infants under the age of 14 months over a 10-year period (between January 1990 and January 2000) were reviewed. Infor-mation collected included age, sex, clinical presentations, biochemical, radiological findings, infant nutrition, presence of other nutritional deficiencies and exposure to sunlight. There were 283 infants diagnosed with nutritional rickets due to Vitamin D deficiency (67% males) who were between 6 and 14 months of age. Among the total, 70% were exclusively breast-fed, and 23% were breast-fed until the age of 1 year. The most frequent clinical presentation was hypo-calcemic convulsions (34%) followed by chest infections (33%) and gastroenteritis (25%). In conclusion, nutritional rickets is still prevalent in Saudi Arabia with the primary etiology being vitamin D deficiency. Therefore we recommend that every infant, who is exclusively on breast-feeding, has routine supplement of vitamin D in the range of 200 IU/day (alone or as apart of multivitamin), started soon after birth until the time of weaning.


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