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New study: Rickets in refugee children

Posted on: April 16, 2012   by  Vitamin D Council


Rickets is a painful condition resulting in fractures, bone pain, and deformities in children. A recent study published by Craig Munns and colleagues reports high rates of rickets among refugee children in Australia.

The study published in the Medical Journal of Australia identified 398 children under 15 years of age with vitamin D deficiency rickets. About 75% of the children were refugees, 63% were born in Africa, and about half the parents of the children were Sudanese.

About 85% of the children with rickets were dark skinned, 13% were categorized as “intermediate”, and only 2% were fair skinned.

The incidence of rickets for children with a Sudanese background was found to be 350 times greater than the national population.

The researchers recognize that there are significant vitamin D deficiencies in these known groups, and with swift public health action, the risk of rickets among these groups will be greatly reduced.


Munns CF, et al. Incidence of vitamin D deficiency rickets among Australian children: An Australian pediatric surveillance unit study. The Medical Journal of Australia. 2012.

Henderson M. Bone disease high in refugee kids: study. Nine news. MSN. Apr 16 2012.

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