There is currently no recommended daily intake for vitamin D, but Kellogg’s wants the government to take steps to help parents understand the risks of vitamin D deficiency.
Almost half of paediatricians have seen children with rickets in the last year and the number of children under 10 admitted to hospital with rickets increased 140% between 2001 and 2008, according to Kellogg’s.
The cereal maker cites a recent study by Southampton General Hospital also showed that more than 20% of children checked for bone problems in his clinic had significant vitamin D deficiencies.
The condition, thought of as a Victorian illness, was thought to have been eradicated in most developed countries by 1930 but has made a return as changing lifestyles mean children spend less time outdoors and more time inside playing on computers and watching TV.
Vitamin D is naturally absorbed through sunlight and other foods such as eggs and fish. A deficiency of the vitamin is linked to weak bones and bowed legs in young children and has also been linked to other conditions including cancer, high blood pressure and heart disease.
This is the latest effort by Kellogg’s to improve the health credentials of its breakfast cereals. It has signed up the government’s Responsibility Deal to encourage consumers to make healthier lifestyle choices and is taking steps to reformulate its products to reduce salt.