Axford S et al. – The combination of inadequate knowledge regarding iodine and the limited use of iodine supplements highlights a potential public health issue of concern. However, mandatory fortification may be overcoming this knowledge and behaviour deficit.Methods
- A cross-sectional study was undertaken at four early childhood centres.
- Sixty mothers in their first six months of breastfeeding completed a short knowledge questionnaire, an iodine-specific food frequency questionnaire, and reported use of nutritional supplements.
- The women were generally limited in their ability to identify good dietary sources of iodine such as milk and bread but 45 women (75%) correctly identified seafood as a good source.
- There was some confusion in identifying health problems associated with insufficient iodine intake.
- Mean reported iodine intake was 146 mg/day (standard deviation: 58 mg; range: 43–342 mg); 48 women (80%) had intakes below the estimated average requirement of 190 mg/day.
- After allowance was made for fortification of bread, mean iodine intake significantly increased to 182 mg/day (P < 0.001) and the number of women having intakes below the estimated average requirement decreased to 36 (60%).
- Milk was the highest contributor to iodine intake, on average representing 62% of total iodine consumed.
- Only 27 (45%) mothers reported consuming supplements that contained iodine.