Iodine Deficiency Prevalent in U.K. Female Teens

Iodine deficiency in the U.K. independently linked to diet, ethnicity, season, and location

THURSDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Iodine deficiency is prevalent in adolescent girls in the United Kingdom, according to a study published online June 2 in The Lancet.

Mark P.J. Vanderpump, M.D., from the Royal Free Hampstead National Health Service Trust Hospital in London, and colleagues assessed the iodine status of 810 schoolgirls aged 14 to 15 years attending secondary schools in the United Kingdom. Iodine concentrations were measured in tap water and 737 samples of urine from June to July and November to December of 2009. Data were collected about ethnic origin, postcode, and dietary sources of iodine.

The investigators found that, based on urinary iodine measurements, 51 percent of participants had mild iodine deficiency, 16 percent had moderate deficiency, and 1 percent had severe iodine deficiency. The highest prevalence of iodine deficiency was seen in Belfast. Iodine concentrations were low or undetectable in tap water and showed no positive correlation with urinary iodine concentrations. After adjusting for confounders, low urinary iodine concentrations were found to be significantly and independently associated with sampling in the summer, geographic location, low intake of milk, and high intake of eggs.

"Our findings suggest that the United Kingdom is iodine deficient," the authors write. "This study has drawn attention to an urgent need for a comprehensive investigation of U.K. iodine status and implementation of evidence-based recommendations for iodine supplementation," the authors write.

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