Still urinary iodine deficiency in pregnant women after bread fortification

January 01, 0001

Still urinary iodine deficiency in pregnant women after bread fortification

The aim of this cross-sectional study of 86 pregnant women (at = 28 weeks’ gestation) conducted in hospital antenatal care services and private obstetrician clinics from 13 January 2009 to 17 February 2010 was to assess iodine status and the factors that influence iodine status among a cohort of pregnant women living in Gippsland, Australia.

The percentage of pregnant women with urinary iodine concentration (UIC greater than 150 mcg/L, indicative of iodine sufficiency) was 28%. There was no statistically significant difference in UICs before and since iodine fortification of bread. The median UIC before fortification was 96 mcg/L and since fortification was 95.5 mcg/L. The dietary intake of iodine-rich food (including bread) and the use of appropriate supplements was insufficient to meet the increased iodine requirements during pregnancy.

The researchers concluded: "The UICs in this cohort of pregnant women are of concern, and seem unlikely to be improved by the national iodine fortification program. Pregnant women in Gippsland urgently need effective iodine education programs and encouragement to either consume iodine-rich foods or take appropriate supplements."

This was an important public health intervention, but does not appear to be reaching targets. A follow-up study of children would be helpful.

For the full abstract, click here.

MJA 194(5):240-243, 7 March 2011
© The Medical Journal of Australia 2011
Urinary iodine deficiency in Gippsland pregnant women: the failure of bread fortification?. Ashequr Rahman, Gayle S Savige, Nicholas J Deacon, Janice E Chesters and Barbara C Panther. Correspondence to Janice Chesters:

Category: T. Endocrine/Metabolic/Nutritional, W. Pregnancy/Childbirth/Family Planning. Keywords: iodine, urinary, deficiency pregnant, bread, fortification, cross-sectional study, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 25 March 2011

Pearls are an independent product of the Cochrane primary care group and are meant for educational use and not to guide clinical care.