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Thyroid. 1999 Nov;9(11):1089-93.

Effect of iodine supplementation on a pediatric population with mild iodine deficiency.

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  • 1Endocrine Division, Hospital Xeral-Cíes de Vigo, Spain.


A cross-sectional study in two stages consisted of healthy children to assess the effect of iodine supplementation on a pediatric population with mild iodine deficiency in an ongoing program in the Province of Pontevedra, northwestern Spain. In the first survey (1984), 1565 schoolchildren and in the second survey (1995) 907 schoolchildren were randomly selected from the population. In January 1985, a mandatory consumption of iodized salt in our region was begun. In both surveys we studied prevalence of goiter, urinary iodine excretion, and prevalence of thyroid dysfunction. Similar prevalences of goiter were observed in both surveys, 3.7% versus 3.9%; however, significantly lower prevalence of Ib and II degree goiters were observed in the second survey. The mean iodine excretion was 88.6 +/- 73 microg/L (median 66.3) and 146.4 +/- 99 microg/L (median 115.7), p < 0.01 for the first and second surveys, respectively. Finally, the overall prevalence of thyroid dysfunction was similar in both surveys, 9.2% versus 7.0%; however, significantly lower prevalence of suppressed serum thyrotropin (TSH), considered as a marker of subclinical hyperthyroidism, was observed in the second survey when compared to the first, 0.1% versus 2%, p < 0.01. Our results are in agreement with the recent data from Denmark, where the prevention of subclinical hyperthyroidism occurring in the elderly as a consequence of longstanding mild iodine deficiency is the reason that the Danish finally started iodine supplementation on a national basis. In conclusion, long-term correction of mild iodine deficiency in a pediatric population has beneficial effects on the prevalence of high-degree goiters, and this correction reduces significantly the prevalence of subclinical hyperthyroidism. The present observation constitutes a strong argument for correcting even mild iodine deficiency.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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