HC Deb 28 October 1981 vol 10 c368W
Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a statement on the recrudescence of rickets and osteomalacia within the Asian community and take measures to publicise the dangers of vitamin D deficiency.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg:

Rickets and osteomalacia among the general population were virtually eradicated in this country in the 1940s and 1950s. The present occurrence of these diseases in Britain is largely confined to relatively small and well defined groups of the population, namely women and children of Asian origin, and the elderly (of all races) who are confined indoors. A health education campaign to combat these diseases in the Asian community was launched nationally in February this year. The campaign which publicises the importance of exposure to sunlight, a balanced diet, and the use of vitamin D supplements in "at risk" groups, has been promoted by the DHSS in partnership with representatives from Asian organisations and the Save the Children Fund, and relies on close collaboration between health authorities and local Asian communities. The local campaign in Merseyside is due to be launched on 1 November and I wish it every success.