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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Mar;63(3):347-54. Epub 2007 Dec 5.

Evaluation of urinary iodine excretion as a biomarker for intake of milk and dairy products in pregnant women in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).

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Division of Environmental Medicine, Department of Food Safety and Nutrition, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Nydalen, Oslo, Norway.



Milk and dairy products are the main sources of iodine in the Norwegian diet. This is due to a high consumption of milk and dairy products combined with a relatively high concentration of iodine in milk because of mandatory iodine fortification of cow fodder. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relation between 24-h urinary iodine excretion and estimated dietary intake, and to explore the use of 24-h urinary iodine excretion as a possible biomarker for the intake of milk and dairy products when assessing the validity of a new food frequency questionnaire for pregnant women participating the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).


119 women participated in a validation study. Iodine was analyzed in 24-h urine. Dietary intakes were estimated by a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and a 4-day weighed food diary (FD). Using linear regression, predictors of urinary iodine excretion were identified. The triangular method was applied to calculate validity coefficients.


Significant predictors of 24-h urinary iodine excretion were: intake of dairy products, iodine-containing supplements and intake of fruit/vegetables. Fish/seafood intake and time of the year influenced 24-h urinary iodine excretion, although not significantly. The validity coefficients observed for total intake of dairy products were 0.65, 0.94 and 0.52 for the FFQ, the FD and the 24-h urinary iodine excretion, respectively.


The present study showed that 24-h urinary iodine excretion may be a useful biomarker for validating the intake of milk and dairy products in pregnant Norwegian women.

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