|Power of Isan
Global health experts announced (12/1/99) in a news
conference in Bogota, Colombia that iodine deficiency continues to be a serious
threat to global health, cautioning that problems far more serious than the
enlarged thyroid known as a goiter can result.
While iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) is not a common problem in the U.S.,
it is on the rise in the U.S. as well. The October, 1998 issue of the Journal
of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reported that over the last 20 years,
the percentage of Americans with low intake of iodine has more than quadrupled.
the researchers indicated that this trend may necessitate concerted efforts
to increase iodine levels in people at risk of deficiency. Earlier in this
century, iodized salt almost wiped out iodine deficiency in the U.S. The
first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I), which took
between 1971 - 1974, found that just 2.6% of US citizens had iodine deficiency.
The followup NHANES III survey, conducted between 1988 - 1994, found that
11.7% are iodine deficient. Of particular concern is the fact that the percentage
of iodine-deficient pregnant women has increased from 1% in 1974 to 7% in
Maternal iodine deficiency is particularly dangerous to a developing fetus.''
The researchers do not have a cause for the drop in levels, though it is
suspected that reduced salt in the diet, plus a reduction in the use of iodine
as a food
ingredient, may be responsible.
Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) ignificant public health problem in 130
countries. While remarkable measurable progress is being made through universal
iodization, there are nearly 50 million people who are estimated to still
be affected by
some degrees of IDD-related brain damage.
It affects 740 million people a year. It causes brain disorders, cretinism,
miscarriages and goiter. It is the world's single most important and
preventable cause of mental retardation. And it is almost unknown. Equally
is the success in eradicating it. Calling it "one of our best kept secrets" the
World Health Organization has rededicated itself to eliminating Iodine
Deficiency Disorder through an intense programme of salt iodisation and
within the next decade.
One-third of the world's population is estimated to be at risk of IDD.
Since the passage of a special resolution at the World Health Assembly
in 1990 and
subsequent resolutions in 1992 and 1996, the Department of Nutrition
for Health and Development (NHD) of WHO has worked tirelessly to establish
programmes around the world.
Iodine is found in various foods, including seafood, small amounts
of iodized salt, and vegetables grown in iodine-rich soils. Iodine-containing
from the ocean is another important source of iodine, since iodine
the skin. Iodized salt provides 76 micrograms (mcg) of iodine per gram
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