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Video games blamed for return of rickets

Rickets, caused by a vitamin D deficiency, has returned to the UK and scientists worry it's because kids are spending time indoors on their consoles and computers.

There are a lot of things I would very much like to blame video games for.

I would like to blame them for making millions of people believe they really are great football coaches. I would like to blame them for turning millions of people into courgettes. And I would like to blame them for making far too many people believe that it really isn't hard out here for a pimp.

However, it had never crossed my mind that they could be blamed for the return of a disease that many of you might associate with Oliver Twist.

No, not the plague of painfully staged musical productions in regional theaters. Rickets.

The main cause of rickets is a lack of vitamin D. Children in developing countries can suffer greatly from it. It leads to a softening of their bones that can result in physical deformity. Yet, according to the Times of Oliver Twist's London, scientists are seeing a worrying return of rickets in UK children.

Professor Simon Pearce and consultant pediatrician Timothy Cheetham, wrote a paper in the British Medical Journal in which they suggested that rickets is becoming "disturbingly common" in the UK.

This nice man causes rickets? Surely not. CC Marcos Kontze/Flickr

"Kids tend to stay indoors more these days and play on their computers instead of enjoying the fresh air. This means their vitamin D levels are worse than in previous years," Professor Pearce told the Times.

In olden times, they used to give kids cod liver oil to ensure that vitamin D levels were maintained. However, this practice smacks of Queen Victoria rather than Lady Gaga. So these scientists are recommending that everyday foods such as milk should be supplemented with vitamin D.

It could be that too many parents have already given up on the hope of being able to get their kids out of the house and into sunlight. And I know there is precious little sunlight in the U.K. anyway.

It seems fairly evident that kids listen very little to their parents these days anyway. So perhaps we should take the issue straight to the kids. Perhaps we could get them to care about vitamin D and nag their parents about it.

How about we talk the makers of Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft, and the rest into making versions in which characters with vitamin D deficiency are always, in one way or another, losers?

You know, they come last in races, never win the Superbowl and never, ever get to machete some bad dude's head into several even pieces. That might get the kids thinking, mightn't it?