Poor knowledge and dietary practices related to iodine in breastfeeding mothers a year after introduction of mandatory fortification

Nutrition & Dietetics, 06/08/2012

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.

Results

  • 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.

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