Back to school in UAE: 75% of students have vitamin D deficiency, eye problems, say hospitals

Some UAE hospitals, including those offering free health check-ups ahead of the school reopening, have reported 70 to 75 per cent students being deficient in vitamin D and having vision-related problems. A good few have gained weight too. Echoing similar views, Dr Babitha Sudarsanan, specialist paediatrics, LLH Hospital, Musaffah, said that because of scorching summer heat, children stayed indoors and didn’t get the sunshine vitamin. “Vitamin D deficiency is common among children during summer season.” According to official data, the mercury breached 50 degrees Celsius a couple of times this summer and has remained higher than 40 degrees for most days across the country. Dr Babitha pointed out an increase in cases of respiratory diseases because of hot and dusty weather.

“Rise in cases of respiratory infections is more than previous years. Moreover, viral fever is seen nowadays. These are the main problems that we have been seeing during the ‘Back to School’ free health check-up,” Dr Babitha said.

Fatigue, bone deformity, pain in back, muscle and joints, cramps, weakness, mood changes, depression are some of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Apart from exposure to sunlight, children should eat plant and animal-based foods like oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel, red meat, egg yolks, cod liver, fortified milk and cereals. Offering general health tips to parents, Dr Babitha added: “Promote general health and wellbeing of children. Encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle and diet, and do regular physical activities even if indoors. Take adequate precaution to avoid Covid-19 and follow guidelines like wearing masks and maintain social distancing. Also, teach them to follow proper respiratory hygiene and general hygienic measures.”

Read Full Story: Khaleej Times

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