Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus from food. Rickets can occur if your child's body doesn't get enough vitamin D or if his or her body has problems using vitamin D properly.

Lack of vitamin D

You receive vitamin D from two sources:

  • Sunlight. Your skin produces vitamin D when it's exposed to sunlight. But children in developed countries now tend to spend less time outdoors. They're also more likely to use sunscreen, which blocks the rays that trigger the skin's production of vitamin D.
  • Food. Fish oils, fatty fish and egg yolks contain vitamin D. Vitamin D also has been added to some foods, such as milk, cereal and some fruit juices. Children who don't eat enough of these fortified foods can develop a vitamin D deficiency.

Problems with absorption

Some children are born with or develop medical conditions that affect the way their bodies absorb vitamin D. Some examples include:

  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Kidney problems
Jun. 01, 2013