Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Media Monday is Back!

After a long hiatus, the Asperger Society Blog is back in action! Albeit a day late, this post is for Media Monday. The message? Our kids need to go outside!

According to a recent article on BBC News, rickets is back. Rickets is usually a manifestation of vitamin D deficiency that was common in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Doctors had, until recently, assumed rickets (like scurvy) to be a thing of the past. It causes low bone density and deformities in the legs (usually bow-leggedness). On a personal note, my own great-aunt had rickets as a child, and because of it she now has what very much looks like osteoporosis. But since her low bone density is from rickets, treatments for osteoporosis do not help.

Now that people, especially children, spend so much time indoors, the specter of rickets has returned. And over-protection against UV rays has only increased the risk.

Vitamin D, while it can be consumed as a supplement, is primarily formed by the body out of cholesterol, when an individual is exposed to sunlight. Too little sunlight (or if the person is too thoroughly protected by sunblock or clothing) and a deficiency results.

Those of us with kids who are glued to their game systems, televisions, or computers--or even the Lego station in their room--need to get our kids playing outside on a regular basis, even if only for a few minutes at a time. It might help social development, and it might help broaden our Aspies' horizons, but it will definitely improve their long term health.

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