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Eur J Endocrinol. 2012 Sep;167(3):387-92. doi: 10.1530/EJE-12-0267. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Iodine intake and prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity and autoimmune thyroiditis in children and adolescents aged between 1 and 16 years.

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Hospital Torrecárdenas, Unidad de Pediatría, Paraje Torrecárdenas, s/n, E-04009 Almería, Spain.



To determine the status of iodine nutrition in children and adolescents in Almería, Spain. To calculate prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity (TA) and autoimmune thyroiditis (AT) in pediatric ages and to research into associated factors.


Cross-sectional epidemiological study. By a multistage probability sampling 1387 children and adolescents aged between 1 and 16 were selected. Physical examination was carried out including neck palpation. Parents were asked about eating habits as well as about social and demographic aspects. Urinary iodine, free thyroxine, TSH, antiperoxidase and antithyroglobulin antibodies were measured. TA was diagnosed when any antibody was positive and AT when autoimmunity was associated with impaired thyroid function or goitre. Results are shown using percentages (and its 95% confidence interval). To study associated factors we used multiple logistic regression, quantifying the relation with odds ratio (OR), and multiple lineal regression.


Median urinary iodine concentration was 199.5 μg/l. The prevalences of TA and AT were 3.7% (2.4-5.0) and 1.4% (0.4-2.4). TA is associated with female sex (OR 2.78; P<0.001) and age (OR 1.30; P<0.001). Iodine status is associated with the intake of milk and dairy product (P<0.001) and vegetable (P=0.021) but not with use of iodized salt at home (P=0.1).


The iodine supply in children and adolescents in our city is optimal. Milk and dairy products are the most important iodine sources. TA and AT are prevalent in pediatric ages in our city mainly in females and older subjects.

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