Professor Peter Ebeling the head of endocrinology of the Western Hospital in Australia warned that many Victorian children were not receiving enough sunlight , there by lacking vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium for healthy bones.
He explained that children who were not exposed to a minimum of 25 minutes of noonday sunshine, or up to 52 minutes a day before 10am and after 2pm, during July and August were at risk of developing crippling osteoporosis and other bone conditions. He further stated that those with dark complexions or children who were covered up with veils for cultural or religious reasons needed three times as much, meaning nearly about three hours a day in the cold months.
Professor Ebeling said, that in recent times he had seen children in the Sunshine area with rickets, who have malformed bones and bowed legs. He felt like it was an image from the Dickensian times in the past. He urged that they had to liberalise the rules about Victorian kids wearing hats especially when UV levels were low.
Osteoporosis Australia is calling for this policy as it launches its free consumer guide to calcium, vitamin D and osteoporosis in Sydney today, urging Australians to review their calcium and vitamin D intake to avoid the onset of brittle bones and fractures.
It is estimated that one in two Australian women and one in three men over 60 will suffer an osteoporotic fracture, mainly due to insufficient calcium and vitamin D. Even though they live in a sunny country, it has been noted that many fair-skinned Australians in the southern states don't get the recommended 10-15 micrograms of vitamin D a day, equal to between six and eight minutes of Melbourne sunlight in summer or 52 minutes in winter outside peak radiation times.