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Br J Nutr. 2011 Dec;106(11):1749-56. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511005502. Epub 2011 Oct 11.

Current trends of 24-h urinary iodine excretion in German schoolchildren and the importance of iodised salt in processed foods.

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Research Institute of Child Nutrition, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Dortmund, Germany.


Worldwide, the iodisation of salt has clearly improved iodine status. In industrialised countries, iodised salt added to processed food contributes most to iodine supply. Yet it is unclear as to what extent changes in the latter may affect the iodine status of populations. Between 2004 and 2009, 24-h urinary iodine excretions (UIE) were repeatedly measured in 278 German children (6 to 12 years old) of the Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed Study (n 707). Na excretion measurements and simultaneously collected 3-d weighed dietary records provided data on intakes of the most important dietary sources of iodine in the children's diet. Actual trends of UIE (2004-9) and contributions of relevant food groups were analysed by mixed linear regression models. Longitudinal regression analysis showed a plateau of UIE in 2004-6; afterwards, UIE significantly decreased till 2009 (P = 0·01; median 24-h UIE in 2004-6: 85·6 μg/d; 2009: 80·4 μg/d). Median urinary iodine concentration fell below the WHO criteria for iodine sufficiency of 100 μg/l in 2007-9. Salt, milk, fish and egg intake (g/d) were significant predictors of UIE (P < 0·005); and the main sources of iodine were salt and milk (48 and 38 %, respectively). The present data hint at a beginning deterioration in the iodine status of German schoolchildren. A decreased use of iodised salt in industrially produced foods may be one possible reason for this development. Because of the generally known risks for cognitive impairment due to even mild iodine deficits in children, a more widespread use of iodised salt, especially in industrially processed foods, has to be promoted.

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