Recently, members of the City Council in Leeds, United Kingdom, have proposed to set aside city money to pay for vitamin supplements for all children under the age of four.
This proposal comes in response to a recent report from the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officer. The report asserts, among many things, that up to 40% of children in the United Kingdom are not getting adequate amounts of vitamin D.
The region Yorkshire and the Humber, where Leeds is located, saw 32 children admitted to the hospital for rickets in 2013. Nutritional rickets is a condition that develops when babies aren’t getting enough vitamin D and/or calcium, and in turn makes their bones soft and brittle. Rickets harms babies’ abilities to thrive, grow and develop properly.
Members of the City Council believe that providing all children under four with free vitamins would cost around 500,000 pounds, but would help decrease the incidence of rickets.
City Councilor Sue Bentley says, “Vitamin deficiencies can cause really nasty health problems in young children. Rickets is perhaps the most prominent, but we’ve seen increases in disease related to other vitamin deficiencies too.”
“Providing vitamins to young children is the cheapest and most effective way we can tackle this issue right now and I hope it’s something administration councilors will see the merit in.”
The City Council of Leeds is set to discuss the proposal and budget over the coming week.