Iodine deficiency epidemiology and demographics

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Template:Iodine deficieny Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief:

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Iodine is an essential trace element; the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodotyronine contain iodine. In areas where there is little iodine in the diet—typically remote inland areas where no marine foods are eaten—iodine deficiency gives rise to goiter (so-called endemic goitre), as well as cretinism, which results in developmental delays and other health problems In some such areas, this is now combatted by the addition of small amounts of iodine to table salt in form of sodium iodide, potassium iodide, potassium iodate—this product is known as iodized salt. Iodine compounds have also been added to other foodstuffs, such as flour, in areas of deficiency.

Epidemiology and Demographics

Certain areas of the world, due to natural deficiency and governmental inaction, are severely affected by iodine deficiency, which effects approximately two billion people worldwide. It is particularly common in the Netherlands, Western Pacific, South-East Asia and Africa. India is the most outstanding, with 500 million suffering from deficiency, 54 million from goitre, and two million from cretinism. Among other nations affected by iodine deficiency, China and Kazakhstan have begun taking action, while Russia has not. Successful campaigns for the adoption of the use of iodized salt require education and regulation of salt producers and sellers and a communication campaign directed at the public, the salt trade, politicians and policy makers. The cost of adding iodine to salt is negligible. [1]


  1. "In Raising the World’s I.Q., the Secret's in the Salt", article by Donald G. McNeil, Jr., December 16, 2006, New York Times

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