According to a study conducted in Delhi, India, one of the most polluted cities in the world, atmospheric pollution is leaving children vulnerable to rickets. Researchers compared biochemical indicators of vitamin D status in 26 children aged 9–24 months living in a heavily polluted area of the inner city (Mori Gate) and 31 age-matched children from a less-polluted area on the outskirts (Gurgaon). Pollution levels were confirmed using a haze sensor, which detects UVB radiation to produce a haze score (lower scores indicating higher levels of atmospheric pollution). All the families were Hindu vegetarians and lived in one-room dwellings with some communal outdoor space. Haze scores confirmed that UVB was less available in Mori Gate than in Gurgaon (mean scores, 2.1 v 2.7). Mean total serum 25(OH)D concentration was significantly lower in the Mori Gate children than in the Gurgaon children (12.4 ng/mL v 27.1 ng/mL) and these children’s mean alkaline phosphatase and parathyroid hormone levels were correspondingly higher. Twelve Mori Gate children had severe 25(OH)D deficiency (levels <12 ng/mL), three having levels usually associated with rickets (<5 ng/mL).
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