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Iodine nutrition status among schoolchildren after salt iodisation


R Jayatissa ,

Community Physician and Nutritionist, Medical Research Institute, Colombo, LK
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MM Gunathilaka,

Chemical Pathologist, Medical Research Institute, Colombo, LK
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DN Fernando

Professor of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, LK
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Earlier studies done in Sri Lanka have indicated the importance of iodine deficiency as a public health problem. The universal salt iodisation programme has been implemented since 1995. The goals of salt iodisation are reduction of the goitre rate to <5% in school-aged children, to maintain the median urinary iodine level in the population between 100-200 μg/L and >90% of households using iodised salt.

Objective To estimate the goitre prevalence, the urinary iodine level, and measure the household iodised salt consumption pattern by Province.

Method A school-based study of 6574 randomly selected children in the age group 8-10 years, from 263 schools was assessed for goitre by palpation. The concentration of urinary iodine levels was measured in 2630 of these children. Estimation of iodine in the 6181 samples of salt used in households of the schoolchildren was also assessed by test kits.

Results The prevalence of goitre in the Provinces varied from 16.3% to 26.2%. The median urinary iodine levels were above the cut-off point of 100 μg/L in all Provinces except in Uva. The highest median urinary iodine level was reported in North Central Province (231.3 μg/L). Overall, 35.4% of the children had urine iodine levels in the ‘ideal' range (100-199.9 μg/L); 30.6% with lower values (<100 μg/L) indicated iodine deficiency and 16.3% with higher values (< 300 μg/L) indicated excessive iodine intake. Only 49.5% of households had used adequately iodised salt.

Conclusions This study showed that iodine deficiency still exists in Uva Province, and that more than adequate iodine levels were found in the North Central Province. The level of permitted salt iodine at household level needs to be revised.

Key words: Goitre rate; household salt iodine level; urinary iodine

DOI: 10.4038/cmj.v50i4.1403

Ceylon Medical Journal Vol.50(4) 2005: 144-148

How to Cite: Jayatissa, R., Gunathilaka, M. and Fernando, D., 2009. Iodine nutrition status among schoolchildren after salt iodisation. Ceylon Medical Journal, 50(4), pp.144–148. DOI:
Published on 09 Dec 2009.
Peer Reviewed


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