oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Iodine and goitre status of primary schoolchildren near Worcester in the Western Cape

Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1607-0658
  • E-ISSN: 2221-1268



To investigate whether or not iodine deficiency and endemic goitre currently prevail among the children attending a primary school near Worcester in the Western Cape, as was suggested by the results of the national iodine deficiency survey carried out 2 years previously.

A cross-sectional study of all Grade 5 and 6 children attending the school.
The iodine status of the 66 participants (42 boys and 24 girls) in the study was assessed by means of the urinary iodine concentration, and the size of their thyroid glands was determined by palpation and by ultrasonography. Anthropometric measurements of their body height and weight were made. In addition, household salt samples were obtained from these children, retail salt samples were purchased at the nearest small food shops in the area of the school, and water samples were taken at the school for iodine analysis.
The goitre prevalence (by palpation) in the whole group was 7.6%, accompanied by a median urinary iodine concentration of 177.5 µg/l, which reflected an adequate dietary iodine intake. The median thyroid volume of 2.8 ml was also low, and only 2 children (3%) with enlarged thyroid volumes were detected ultrasonographically. Although the iodine concentration in retailer and household salt samples varied somewhat, it provided sufficient iodine to these children.
The mild iodine deficiency that existed 2 years previously in these schoolchildren has been eradicated, most likely by the adequate amount of iodine in the salt.

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