Fluoride Action Network


Syndromes of bone disease and deformities consequent to disorders of nutrition, bone and mineral metabolism constitute a serious national health problem. The studies on this subject are scanty. Data on nutritional bone disease are described and discussed. We had surveyed 337.68 million population residing in 0.39 million villages in 22 States of India during the period 1963 to 2005. Of the 4,11,744 patients identified with the disorders of bone and mineral metabolism, 2,13,760 (52%) had nutritional bone disease, 1,77,200 (43%) had endemic skeletal fluorosis and 20,784 (5%) had metabolic bone disease and in 41 patients (0.19%) the bone disease was rare, mixed or unidentified. Vitamin D deficiency osteomalacia and rickets caused by inadequate exposure to sunlight (290-315 nm), dietary calcium deficiency (<300 mg/day) and fluoride interaction syndromes, calcium deficiency induced osteoporosis and calcium and vitamin D deficiency induced osteoporosis in the elderly, were the commonest disorders responsible for bone disease and deformities, besides caused by endemic skeletal fluorosis as a single entity in endemic fluorosis villages. Calcium deficiency per se dose not cause rickets, as revealed in our long-term follow up study on 47,500 calcium deficient children. Only mothers with severely depleted bone mineral and vitamin D stores gave birth to their babies with congenital rickets. Vitamin D deficiency rickets in children and osteomalacia in the mothers are the commonest disorders prevalent in the rural population of India. These disorders and the syndromes of calcium deficiency and fluoride interactions are largely responsible for the morbidity and mortality in the young and promising individuals, with economic consequences.