Iodine status five years after the mandatory salt iodization legislation indicates above requirement: a cross sectional study in Northwest Ethiopia

Molla Mesele Wassie, Zegeye Abebe, Amare Tariku, Ejigu Gebeye, Tadese Awoke, Azeb Atenafu Gete, Melkie Edris Yesuf, Yigzaw Kebede, Gashaw Andargie Biks, Shao Jia Zhou

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Background: Iodine deficiency is one of a major nutritional problem. The study aimed to assess the iodine status of populations in Dabat district using median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) in school-age children (6-12 years) and compared the results with goiter prevalence. Methods: The study used a cross-sectional study design. The study was conducted in Dabat district, northwest Ethiopia in May 2016. Spot urine samples were used for the determination of UIC. Manual examination of the thyroid gland was performed to assess presence of goiter. The MBI international Rapid Test Kits (RTK) were used to determine the level of salt iodine content. Children aged 6-12 years were recruited from schools using a multistage stratified sampling. One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to compare mean of log-transformed UIC values among key variables. Significant was determined at P-value less than 0.05. Results: A total of 358 school age children enrolled to the study. The mean age of children was 10.8((Standard Deviation (SD) = 1.45) years and 56.7% were males. The median UIC was 235 μg/l ((Inter Quartile Range (IQR): 161, 320]. Excessive iodine intake and inadequate iodine intake was observed on 29.1 and 8.7% of school aged children, respectfully. The coverage of iodized salt use in school-age children were 66.8%. The UIC was higher in urban children than rural counterparts and in those used adequately iodised salt than inadequately iodized salt (P < 0.05). Thirty-four percent of school-age children had a goiter. The prevalence of grade 1 and grade 2 goiter was 26.5 and 7.5%, respectively. There was a poor agreement between UIC and goiter (k = 0.1) in classifying iodine status of populations. Conclusions: The study population is classified as above requirements by median UIC in school-age children but severe iodine deficiency by goiter prevalence. Further research investigating the agreement between UIC and goiter prevalence in classifying iodine status of populations with various iodine status is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number52
Number of pages8
JournalBMC Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethiopia
  • Goiter
  • Iodine status
  • School-aged children
  • UIC


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