Food and Behaviour Research

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Iodine ignorance: Irish researchers call for public health campaign

Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn


Long-time FAB supporters will already know that in the UK, around one third of mothers-to be show mild-to-moderate iodine deficiency during pregnancy - and that there is good evidence that this is significantly reducing the verbal IQ and reading achievement of British children.

Since then, however, public health authorities in the UK have done nothing to raise public awareness of this issue (or to tackle it as other developed countries do, via food fortification or recommendations for supplementation).

In this new study, researchers found that women of childbearing age in the UK and Ireland still generally know little about the importance of iodine during pregnancy, nor about good dietary sources of this key nutrient.

For details of this latest research, see:

For more information on iodine in pregnancy - including practical information on which foods can help to meet dietary needs - see also the factsheet from the UK British Dietetic Association (BDA)

And more detailed information can be found from the US National Institutes of Health (although the US - and most other developed countries, use public health measures such as the iodisation of salt or other basic foodstuffs to increase population intakes, which is not the case in the UK).

25 November 2016 - NutraIngredients

Only one third of Irish women understand the importance of iodine in pregnancy, say researchers calling for a public health campaign.

The findings were based on a survey of 520 females aged between 18 and 45.
Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the study showed just 43% knew what the nutrient was and only 27% were aware iodine deficiency is a current public health concern in the UK and Ireland.
It found 41% of the women were not able to correctly pick out any health problem related to iodine deficiency.
The researchers from Ulster University in Northern Ireland are calling for increased efforts to improve women’s understanding of the mineral.
“As part of a larger public health policy to eradicate iodine deficiency, educational intervention should be considered,” they wrote. “Among women of childbearing age, targeted public health campaigns are warranted to increase iodine nutrition knowledge and intake.”