The purpose of the study was to assess information regarding dietary calcium intake and sunlight exposure practice, which are factors related to nutritional rickets.
The study was conducted in Dale Woreda, Southern Ethiopia using a community based cross-sectional survey with both descriptive and analytic components. A total of 170 children were selected using multi-stage sampling technique. A structured questionnaire and an interactive 24 hour dietary assessment method were used to collect data on socio-demographic and economic information and to assess dietary calcium intake of participant children. The Ethiopian food composition table supplemented by world food data was used to convert dietary intake into nutrient content.
The mean (SD) age of the study children was 14.4 (+4.7) months. The male to female ratio was 1.24. The median (IQR) calcium intake of participant children was 379 (370) mg/day. Of the total participant children 45(26.5%) had low dietary calcium intake comparing with their age specific recommended nutrient intake (RNI) value. Regarding sunlight exposure, 70 (41.1%) participant mothers exposed their child to sunlight within 1 month of birth and 96 (56.5%) of study children were exposed to sunlight for 20 to 30 minutes per day.
In conclusion, we found that they have risk of dietary calcium inadequacy because of low intakes in some children. Further, the effect of phytate on prevailing foods in the locality such as fruit and maize-based complementary food would make bioavailability low. But regarding sunlight exposure, the participant children are not at risk of inadequacy because they have good exposure practices.