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S Afr Med J. 1998 Mar;88(3 Endocrinology):357-8.

Dietary iodine deficiency in South Africa. Surveys before the introduction of universal salt iodisation.

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Departments of Medicine and Chemical Pathology, South African Institution for Medical Research, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.



To survey iodine nutritional status in several geographically separated communities in South Africa.


In an initial study total goitre prevalence (TGP) was correlated with urinary iodine concentration (UIC) in some 300 primary school children in a single district. Thereafter only UIC was surveyed in children from 5 additional communities.


In the initial survey in Mpumalanga TGP was 74.2% (23.4% visible) and the median UIC was 15.6 micrograms/l, both data indicating severe iodine deficiency in this district. Median UIC values indicated mild to severe iodine deficiency in districts in the Northern Province, moderate deficiency in the Eastern Cape, and mild deficiency in Soweto, Gauteng. Only non-black African children in Johannesburg were iodine-replete (UIC > 100.0 micrograms/l.)


Before the introduction of compulsory iodisation of salt in December 1995, dietary iodine deficiency was widespread in South Africa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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