British Journal of Nutrition

Papers of direct relevance to Clinical and Human Nutrition

The role of cereals in the aetiology of nutritional rickets: the lesson of the Irish National Nutrition Survey 1943–8

Iris Robertsona1, J. A. Forda2, W. B. McIntosha3 and M. G. Dunnigana3

a1 Department of Mathematics, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow

a2 Paediatric Unit, Rutherglen Maternity Hospital, Glasgow

a3 Departments of Biochemistry and Medicine, Stobhill General Hospital, Glasgow


1. Review of the evidence of the Irish Nutrition Survey concerning a marked rise in the incidence of rickets in Dublin in 1942 concludes that a rise in the extraction rate of the national flour from 70 to 100% was principally responsible.

2. This rise and subsequent decrease in incidence as the extraction rate of flour was reduced is not explained by changes in the proportion of children protected by vitamin D supplements or by small changes in dietary vitamin D intake.

3. The evidence suggests that nutritional rickets in man cannot be explained on the basis of deficient vitamin D intake alone, whether derived from diet or U.V. radiation.

(Received January 30 1980)

(Accepted July 11 1980)