image of children eating lunch, Kenya.jpgIodine deficiency is a major public health problem for populations throughout the world. It is particularly harming for children and pregnant women. One of the most devastating outcomes of iodine deficiency is mental retardation; it is the leading cause of preventable mental retardation worldwide and this is one of the primary motivations to see its elimination. Even mild iodine deficiency can reduce learning ability and lower intelligence by about 13.5 intelligence quotient points at population level (UNICEF 2007). 

Global Impact on School Children

Iodine deficiency affects an estimated 60 million (5% of) school-age children impacting on their cognitive and learning abilities and ultimately results in a loss of economic​ productivity, slowing progress to meet Millennium Development GoalsSerious iodine deficiency can affect congenital abnormalities such as cretinism which is a serious form of mental retardation found in Africa and Asia. School children living in iodine deficient areas have poorer cognitive abilities than children living in iodine sufficient areas.

Preventative Measures

Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) can be eliminated by preventive measures through supplementation and food fortification using iodine administered in salt or oil which is also a relatively inexpensive measure. WHO recommends programmes focused on salt iodization programmes to tackle global iodine deficiency worldwide. 

Iodine Resources