Widespread Vitamin D Deficiency in Children Prompts Cereal Giant to Add the ‘Sunshine Nutrient’ to its Kids’ Products
MANCHESTER, England, October 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –
– Kellogg’s to Fortify Household Favourites Such as Rice Krispies with
Vitamin D to Help Combat sun shy Britain’s Deficiency in Essential Nutrient
In order to help tackle the growing issue of illnesses relating to
vitamin D deficiency such as Rickets, Kellogg’s is adding vitamin D to all
of its kids’ cereals in the UK.
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New research released today shows that 82 per cent of Paediatric
Dietitians surveyed have seen an increase in cases of Rickets in the last
five years and 46 per cent have seen cases of Rickets in the last year
With the clocks going back this weekend and reduced sunlight, it’s
important parents consider alternative ways to boost their children’s
Vitamin D intake.
Worryingly, 94 per cent of Paediatric Dietitians feel that parents
aren’t aware of the importance of vitamin D to a balanced diet and research
with parents revealed that only 12 per cent give their children food rich
in vitamin D. That’s not surprising, however, as Vitamin D is present in
relatively few foods such as oily fish, fortified margarine and eggs.
Research shows that the number of children younger than ten admitted to
hospital with rickets was 140 per cent higher in 2009 than in 2001. Even
this statistic only hints at the problem. Because rickets is not an
infectious disease, health professionals are under no obligation to measure
incidences of the condition, making it impossible to quantify the scale of
the problem across the British population.
A recent study carried out by consultant orthopaedic surgeon Professor
Nicholas Clarke at Southampton General Hospital showed more than 20 per cent
of children checked for bone problems in his clinic had significant
Professor Clarke comments: “Although we have seen an increase in
awareness of rickets as a condition, it does not seem to have reduced the
prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the population we treat and that is of
“We continue to see children, possibly with increased frequency, with
vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency in the clinic and my review is that
vitamin D inclusion in cereal is essentially a good idea given the pathology
we are seeing.”
“Our study showed that Vitamin D deficiency does not occur in any
particular ethnic minority or social depravation group. It’s something that
affects all demographic groups.”
It’s important that everyday, commonly eaten foods are fortified in
order to have an impact on the level of vitamin D in children’s diets.
Kellogg’s children’s cereals are in 82 per cent of households nationwide so
by adding vitamin D to these cereals, Kellogg’s will be helping to boost
levels of the sunshine nutrient.
Currently there isn’t a recommended nutritional intake (RNI) of Vitamin
D for children over 5 because it is assumed they will get enough from
sunlight. This makes it difficult for healthcare professionals to advise on
how much Vitamin D they should be getting to avoid health problems
associated with this deficiency.
In addition, parents who are worried about the risks of sun exposure are
failing to encourage their children to spend time outdoors in the sunlight
with a thirdnot getting enough sun exposure to give them sufficient
vitamin D. Children are also spending more time inside on the computer with
29 per cent playing outside less than twice a week.
Jacqui Lowdon, chair of the Paediatric Group at British Dietetic
Association comments: “Health professionals are increasingly becoming aware
that even mild vitamin D deficiency can be detrimental for long-term health.
Its important that children are encouraged to get some sun exposure without
sunblock, more foods are fortified with Vitamin D and supplementation is
Health care professionals recommend supplements for children under five
but less than one per cent of parents surveyed give their child a Vitamin
D supplement. This shows the importance of fortifying everyday food to boost
levels of Vitamin D.
Alyson Greenhalgh-Ball, European nutrition director at Kellogg’s said:
“What’s worrying is that Rickets is the extreme end of the scale and many
more children will be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency which can lead to
other health problems.
“It’s important the government takes this issue seriously and recognises
the need for parents to be better informed about the risks of vitamin D
deficiency. Healthcare Professionals would like to see the introduction of a
recommended daily intake so we are clear on exactly how much vitamin D
children need in their diet to avoid these health issues. It’s also
important that incidents of Rickets in the UK are monitored so we can
understand the full extent of the problem.”
Kellogg’s has had a long history of fortifying its cereal of with
essential vitamins. Folic acid was added to Kellogg’s cereals in the 1980s
to address the problem of neural tube defects. The FSA has identified
breakfast cereals as an important contributing factor to the decreased
incidence of Spina Bifida.
For more information on Vitamin D visit
Notes to editors:
1. By the end of 2012 Vitamin D will be added to the following Kellogg’s
cereals: Coco Pops, Coco Pops Moons & Stars, Coco Pops Rocks, Coco Pops
Moons and Stars and Rice Krispies, Rice Krispies Multigrain and Honey Loops.
There is currently Vitamin D in Kellogg’s Cornflakes, Special K and Coco
Pops Choc N Roll and Mini Max, Ricicles.
2. Survey for Kellogg’s in July with 120 British Dietetic Association
(BDA) Paediatric Dieticians.
3. Research by Opinion Matters with 1033 UK parents in June 2011.
4. Freedom of Information responses from 70 PCTs. The responses refer to
the number of patients admitted to hospital with rickets, not the number
diagnosed with or treated for rickets by their GP.
5. National Diet and Nutrition Survey (Rolling Programme) 2011.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because our skin can produce
vitamin D from the sun’s ultra violet light (UVB). It helps control the
amount of calcium we absorb and is important for the development of strong
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