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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40718. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040718. Epub 2012 Jul 27.

Iodine nutrition and the prevalence of thyroid disease after salt iodization: a cross-sectional survey in Shanghai, a coastal area in China.

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Department of Nutrition Hygiene, Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Shanghai, China.



Both insufficient and excess iodine may produce thyroid disease. After salt iodization in China, the median urine iodine concentration (UIC) of children aged 8-10 years appeared adequate. However, it is unknown whether dietary changes due to rapid economic development in Shanghai have affected whole population iodine nutrition.


To assess dietary iodine intake, UIC and the prevalence of thyroid disease in the general population of Shanghai.


A cross-sectional survey was conducted with general participants aged 5-69 years (n = 7,904) plus pregnant and lactating women (n = 380 each) selected by stratified multistage sampling. The iodine concentrations in their salt, drinking water and urine were measured. Daily iodine intake was estimated using the total diet study approach. Serum thyroid hormone concentrations and thyroid-related antibodies were measured and thyroid ultrasonography was performed.


The median iodine concentration in salt was 29.5 mg/kg, and 12.8 µg/L in drinking water. Iodized salt, used by 95.3% of participants, contributed 63.5% of total dietary iodine. Estimated daily iodine intake was 225.96 µg. The median UIC of general participants was 146.7 µg/L; UIC <100 µg/L (iodine insufficiency) was seen in 28.6%; UIC >300 µg/L (iodine excess) in 10.1%. Pregnant women had a median UIC of 135.9 µg/L, with UIC <150 µg/L in 55.4%. Thyroid nodules and subclinical hypothyroidism were found in 27.44% and 9.17%, respectively.


According to published criteria, the current dietary iodine intake in Shanghai was generally sufficient and safe, but insufficient in pregnant women. Thyroid nodules and subclinical hypothyroidism were the commonest thyroid diseases identified.

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