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Prev Med. 2013 Jul;57(1):26-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Improvement in iodine status of pregnant Australian women 3 years after introduction of a mandatory iodine fortification programme.

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School of Health Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW 2500, Australia.



In order to address population-level mild iodine deficiency in Australia, a mandatory iodine fortification programme of salt used in bread was introduced in late 2009.


A before-after study was conducted to assess changes in median urinary iodine concentration (MUIC) measurements, according to supplement use, in convenience samples of pregnant women attending a public antenatal clinic in a regional area of New South Wales, Australia in 2008 (n=139), 2011 (n=147) and 2012 (n=114). Knowledge and practices related to iodine nutrition were investigated in 2012, using self-administered questionnaires.


The mild iodine deficiency confirmed pre-fortification (MUIC (IQR)=87.5 (62-123.5; n=110)) has steadily improved to 145.5 μg/L (91-252) in 2011 (n=106) and 166 (97-237) in 2012 (n=95) (sufficiency ≥ 150 μg/L). However, only women taking supplements containing iodine had MUIC indicative of sufficiency in both years surveyed post fortification (2011: 178 μg/L vs. 109 μg/L, P<0.001; 2012: 202 μg/L vs. 124 μg/L, P<0.05). Despite bread being the vehicle for iodine fortification, dairy foods remained major contributors to total iodine intake (58%). Overall knowledge regarding health implications of iodine deficiency was poor.


Iodine status of women has improved since the introduction of mandatory iodine fortification; however supplementation is indicated during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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