■ Adequate exposure to sunlight ensures that vitamin D levels are maintained at optimum levels.
■ Dietary supplements like ragi help those with serious deficiency. Ragi has the highest calcium content when compared to other millets. Ragi also has high iron and potassium content which is needed by growing children.
■ Mushrooms are a good source of both vitamin D and calcium. Other good sources of calcium include cow’s milk, paneer and cheese.
■ Parents could get their children to eat rotis made out of ragi plus wheat flour. Wheat provides good protein for muscle development. Almonds, soya and peas also provide a good vegetarian source of calcium.
How to identify weakness in bones among children?
■ Most children have generalised weakness, muscle cramps, dull muscular aches and are unable to cope adequately with regular physical activities.
■ Severe vitamin D deficiency in children leads to ‘Rickets’ and they tend to have a more prominent skull resembling a ‘hot cross bun’. They also have broad wrists and deformities of the knee.
■ Parents are advised to seek med-ical advice if they have any con- cerns about their children’s growth progress or symptoms related to their muscle /skeletal development.