Forget seasonal affective disorder—New Zealanders are getting rickets from a lack of sunlight

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New Zealand is seeing the resurgence of rickets, a disease you might associate with sickly children from centuries past, Yahoo! New Zealand reports.


A study, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, found that 58 children were diagnosed with rickets in the New Zealand between 2010 and 2013.

The disease is caused by a lack of Vitamin D—something we can gain through exposure to sunlight. Rickets can lead to serious bone deformities and seizures.

A possible cause of the uptick? The government's health spokesperson said the public health push for sun protection to prevent skin cancer might have gone too far, Radio New Zealand reports.

"Maybe we need to look at whether we've gone overboard with covering kids up with suntan lotion, hats and keeping them inside," New Zealand health spokesperson Annette King told Yahoo.

She added that children might need to be taught to play outside more, especially those growing up in apartment buildings in New Zealand's more cosmopolitan cities.

Researchers at the University of Otago who put together the numbers said the answer might be to look at ways to get Vitamin D supplements to children and parents.