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      Efficacy of a Salt Iodization Program on Iodine Status and Intakes in Schoolchildren of São Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal

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          Introduction: Iodine is an essential micronutrient and its deficiency can severely impact children’s development. In 2012, the Thyroid Study Group of the Portuguese Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism discovered that the median urinary iodine concentration (mUIC) level in schoolchildren of São Miguel was far too low at 70.9 μg/L. In response, the government implemented a salt iodization program to help normalize levels. This investigation evaluated the efficacy of such an approach. Methods: Urinary iodine concentration (UIC) was evaluated in 362 schoolchildren from São Miguel using the fast colorimetric method. Results: mUIC was 106.7 μg/L, significantly higher than that observed in 2012 ( p < 0.001). Over half (55.5%) of the schoolchildren had a UIC >100 μg/L versus 23.0% in 2012 ( p < 0.001). 9.4% of schoolchildren had a UIC <50 μg/L, significantly lower than the 30.6% reported in 2012 ( p < 0.001). Discussion/Conclusion: Five years after the implementation of the government salt iodization program, the mUIC increased from 70.9 to 106.7 μg/L. This study confirms the efficacy of the adopted measures in schoolchildren population.

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          Iodine status of UK schoolgirls: a cross-sectional survey.

          Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment worldwide. It is defined by WHO as mild if the population median urinary iodine excretion is 50-99 μg/L, moderate if 20-49 μg/L, and severe if less than 20 μg/L. No contemporary data are available for the UK, which has no programme of food or salt iodination. We aimed to assess the current iodine status of the UK population. In this cross-sectional survey, we systematically assessed iodine status in schoolgirls aged 14-15 years attending secondary school in nine UK centres. Urinary iodine concentrations and tap water iodine concentrations were measured in June-July, 2009, and November-December, 2009. Ethnic origin, postcode, and a validated diet questionnaire assessing sources of iodine were recorded. 810 participants provided 737 urine samples. Data for dietary habits and iodine status were available for 664 participants. Median urinary iodine excretion was 80·1 μg/L (IQR 56·9-109·0). Urinary iodine measurements indicative of mild iodine deficiency were present in 51% (n=379) of participants, moderate deficiency in 16% (n=120), and severe deficiency in 1% (n=8). Prevalence of iodine deficiency was highest in Belfast (85%, n=135). Tap water iodine concentrations were low or undetectable and were not positively associated with urinary iodine concentrations. Multivariable general linear model analysis confirmed independent associations between low urinary iodine excretion and sampling in summer (p<0·0001), UK geographical location (p<0·0001), low intake of milk (p=0·03), and high intake of eggs (p=0·02). Our findings suggest that the UK is iodine deficient. Since developing fetuses are the most susceptible to adverse effects of iodine deficiency and even mild perturbations of maternal and fetal thyroid function have an effect on neurodevelopment, these findings are of potential major public health importance. This study has drawn attention to an urgent need for a comprehensive investigation of UK iodine status and implementation of evidence-based recommendations for iodine supplementation. Clinical Endocrinology Trust. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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            The role of iodine in human growth and development.

            Iodine is an essential component of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. Thyroid hormones, and therefore iodine, are essential for mammalian life. Iodine deficiency is a major public health problem; globally, it is estimated that two billion individuals have an insufficient iodine intake. Although goiter is the most visible sequelae of iodine deficiency, the major impact of hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency is impaired neurodevelopment, particularly early in life. In the fetal brain, inadequate thyroid hormone impairs myelination, cell migration, differentiation and maturation. Moderate-to-severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy increases rates of spontaneous abortion, reduces birth weight, and increases infant mortality. Offspring of deficient mothers are at high risk for cognitive disability, with cretinism being the most severe manifestation. It remains unclear if development of the offspring is affected by mild maternal iodine deficiency. Moderate-to-severe iodine deficiency during childhood reduces somatic growth. Correction of mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency in primary school aged children improves cognitive and motor function. Iodine prophylaxis of deficient populations with periodic monitoring is an extremely cost effective approach to reduce the substantial adverse effects of iodine deficiency throughout the life cycle. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for iodine


                Author and article information

                European Thyroid Journal
                S. Karger AG
                April 2021
                09 October 2020
                : 10
                : 2
                : 109-113
                aDepartment of Endocrinology and Nutrition, Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo de Ponta Delgada, Ponta Delgada, Portugal
                bLaboratory of Endocrinology, Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa de Francisco Gentil, Lisboa, Portugal
                cDepartment of Endocrinology, Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa de Francisco Gentil, Lisboa, Portugal
                Author notes
                *Catarina Senra Moniz, Department of Endocrinology and Nutrition, Hospital do Divino Espírito Santo de Ponta Delgada, Av. D. Manuel I, PT–9500-370 Ponta Delgada (Portugal), catarinasenra@gmail.com
                511055 Eur Thyroid J 2021;10:109–113
                © 2020 European Thyroid Association Published by S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Tables: 2, Pages: 5
                Translational Thyroidology / Research Article


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