Cases of a disease that was prevalent in the slums of Victorian-era Britain are 700% higher in Scotland than in England, according to figures.

A total of 442 cases were recorded in 2022 compared with 482 across the whole of England and most (356) were in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

Rickets is caused by a sustained lack of Vitamin D, which comes from exposure to sunlight or is found in food like oily fish or eggs.

This can lead to a softening of bones which may result in bone pain or skeletal deformities such as bowed legs or knock knees.

The disease mostly disappeared more than half a century ago after sustained efforts to improve the population's diet and exposure to sunlight. The latest figures show it has returned and is mostly being seen in adults.

Data obtained by the Sunday Times showed there has been a 33% increase in cases in the past five years, from 354 in 2018 to 442 last year.

READ MORE: SNP urged to halt cuts to health jobs affecting Glasgow's poorest 

NHS Lanarkshire recorded 83 cases and NHS Forth Valley had three.

Glasgow is one of the most deprived local authority areas in Scotland and 32% of all children in the city were estimated to be living in poverty in 2021-2022, according to Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH)

However, Dr Lynsay Crawford, who spent more than 20 years working as a GP in Possilpark, one of the city's poorest areas, said the higher cases in Glasgow may not just be down to increased levels of poverty.

She said:  "I only saw elderly patients who had had rickets in childhood and been left with leg deformities until Glasgow started to get more migrants and asylum seekers.

"That changed everything.

The Herald:  

"Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets and we make Vitamin D through sunlight on our skin.

"People with darker skin are more at risk of rickets because having more pigment in your skin reduces Vitamin D production.

"Additionally, women from many countries abroad, particularly if they are Muslim, dress modestly and more of their skin is covered and they spend less time outside which further increases the risk of rickets. 

"So the higher percentage of rickets in Glasgow may not just be due to poverty as it previously used to be but may be linked to the increased ethnic diversity.".

She said both adults and kids were also spending more time indoors now and there was an increased prevalence of "cheap unhealthy food".

The Herald revealed that thousands of children have been treated for malnutrition in Scottish hospitals in recent years and Glasgow, again saw the highest rates.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said there had been 3895 admissions of children under the age of 18 to an acute site for malnutrition from 2018 to 2022.

Figures show numbers soared in 2021, the year after the pandemic broke out, almost doubling from 572 to 1000.

The figures, which were obtained using freedom of information legislation, did not include GP data, where most children at risk of malnutrition would be treated.

A study led by GCPH, published in 2021, found the life expectancy gap between the richest and poorest in Glasgow is bigger now than it was 20 years ago.

According to the latest data, from 2019, men living in the most deprived areas of Glasgow, on average can expect to live 15.4 years less than those in the most affluent parts - from 2000-2002 there was a difference of 12.4 years. 

READ MORE: Deprivation gap between poorest and most affluent in Glasgow wider now than 20 years ago

For women, the gap has increased from 8.6 to 11.6 years and life expectancy for females in the poorest areas has been dropping for the past few years.

UK Government austerity measures have largely been attributed for the trend, which pre-dates the Covid pandemic, but one of the lead researchers said more could be done in Scotland around taxation to reduce inequalities, which have led to Glasgow having the lowest life expectancy in the UK.

The data collected by The Times also showed 112 cases of tuberculosis in 2022 as well as a spike in scarlet fever diagnoses, with 223 cases last year compared to 39 the year before. However, England had higher rates of scurvy - 171 compared to just three.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Increasing healthy life expectancy and and reducing health inequalities across Scotland remains a clear ambition for this government.

"We want everyone in Scotland to eat well and have a healthy weight, yet we know people living in poverty have poorer health.

"That is why, the main aim of our 2018 Diet and Healthy Weight Delivery Plan is to make it easier for everyone to eat well and have a healthy weight.

"This incudes reducing levels of undernutrition."