British Children's Junk Food Diets Are Leading To Diseases Like Scurvy And Rickets

British children are suffering from wartime diseases because their junk food diets are worse than during rationing, doctors have warned. They say that cases of scurvy and rickets are on the rise because of a reliance on takeaways and microwave meals by today's junk food generation.

Dr Mark Temple, chairman of the British Medical Association's public health medicine committee, said: 'Food standards in the UK are worse now that they were during the rationing during the war.'

Dr Temple said it was a 'great tragedy' that diets of the 21st Century junk food junkies had become as worse as the wartime diet. He added: 'That's a strong indictment on the food industry. 'Obesity is a major health threat and we ought to be doing something about it.'


Dr Temple spoke out after a rise in the 'old-fashioned wartime' illnesses in the former coal and steel areas of the Welsh valleys. Dietitian Sioned Quirke - who works in the run-down Rhondda Valleys in South Wales - said a reliance on fast food was causing a rise in diseases last commonly seen during the early 20th century.

Ms Quirke said: 'For some population groups diet and nutrition has reverted back to being as poor as it was 100 years ago. 'The difference between now and then is that this is out of choice. People say that fruit and vegetables are not affordable when in fact they are.'

Wartime rationing began in January 1940 and one person's typical weekly allowance would be: one fresh egg; 4oz margarine and bacon (about four rashers); 2oz butter and tea; 1oz cheese; and 8oz sugar.

Dietician Ms Quirke said she had seen increasing numbers of childhood diseases - which were thought to have been consigned to the history books. She said: 'Rickets and scurvy are coming back.

'When I was training 10 years ago we were told about these as past conditions and thought we would not come across them. 'These conditions are long-term. If the bones are affected by vitamin deficiency then they are affected for life.' Rickets is caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D in a child's diet which comes from foods such as oily fish and eggs.It causes the bones to become soft and malformed, which can lead to bone deformities. Scurvy can develop if not enough vitamin C is present in your diet, which is vital for the body to make the protein collagen. Without vitamin C, collagen can't be replaced and the different types of tissue break down, leading to muscle and joint pain and bleeding and swelling of the gums.

The rise of historical diseases such as rickets and scurvy has coincided with an obesity epidemic.

The number of people with obesity in the UK has more than trebled in the last 25 years.

In England data from 2011 shows 24.8 per cent of adults (16 or over) and 16.3 per cent of children (2 -15) are obese. A Government report claimed obesity will cost the NHS £6.4bn per year by 2015.