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Iodine supply of children in Germany is unsatisfactory

March 18, 2013

According to a new study, more than half of six to twelve-year-olds in Germany are not receiving the recommended intake of iodine.

In this long-term observational study, which regularly observes more than 700 healthy participants from infancy to into young adulthood and gathers comprehensive data on various nutritional and health para-meters, iodine supply in schoolchildren was determined based on iodine excretion in urine samples over
24 hours (1). The results showed that since 2004, iodine intake has decreased: While the desirable iodine excretion level for seven- to ten-year-olds is 119 micrograms per day, the average iodine excretion of participants from 2004 to 2006 was only 86 micrograms, and in 2009, 80 micrograms of iodine per day.

The researchers noted that, for this age group, iodized salt is the main source of iodine. Along with milk, it accounts for more than three-quarters of daily iodine intake. While fish contain relatively high quantities of iodine, this is only consumed by children in small amounts and thus contributes only a little to their iodine intake. Depending on the variety of fish and the serving size, a fish meal can cover the recommended iodine intake for more than one day. A possible reason for the deterioration in iodine supply could be that food manufacturers use less iodized salt. In 2004, a good third of food companies still used iodized salt; now the figure is estimated to be significantly less than 30%. In order to ensure an adequate iodine supply in large portions of the population, in the future it would be an idea to increase the iodine content of table salt used in industry and manufacturing. In Germany, the legally prescribed 15 to 25 micrograms of iodine per gram of salt is currently at the bottom end of the range of 20 to 40 micrograms of iodine per gram of salt recommen-ded by the World Health Organization (WHO).

References

  1. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung. Dortmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed Study. Published online February 2013.