The importance of limited exposure to ultraviolet radiation and dietary factors in the aetiology of Asian rickets: a risk-factor model

Q J Med. 1987 May;63(241):413-25.


Regional variation in the prevalence of Asian rickets was examined in Coventry, Bradford and Glasgow. Records of 152 weeks of daylight outdoor exposure were obtained from 104 Glasgow Asian children, 53 of whom had been treated for rickets. Records of seven-day weighed dietary intake were obtained from 84 Asian children, 43 of whom had been treated for rickets. There was a marked north-south gradient in the prevalence of Asian rickets. In all cases of severe rickets with deformity the child was vegetarian. Severe rickets was associated with lower intake of meat, higher intake of chapati and lower daylight outdoor exposure values than in normal children. Multivariate analysis employing a combination of these variables provided good separation between rachitic and normal groups. A risk-factor model is proposed which suggests that regional variation in the prevalence of rickets among Asian communities in Britain is mainly determined by the effects of latitude and the nature of the urban environment on available ultraviolet radiation. Where UV radiation is restricted, individual propensity to rickets within a given Asian community is mainly determined by dietary factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Child
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet, Vegetarian / adverse effects*
  • England
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Rickets / epidemiology
  • Rickets / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Scotland
  • Ultraviolet Rays*