Goitre and urinary iodine excretion survey in schoolchildren of Kashmir Valley

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Summary

Background

An extensive survey on schoolchildren in Kashmir Valley in 1995 showed a high prevalence of goitre, making it imperative to have a relook at our iodine status, 15 years postiodization.

Objective

To study the total prevalence of goitre and urinary iodine excretion (UIE) in Kashmiri schoolchildren, 15 years postiodization.

Design

A cross-sectional survey, covering 9576 schoolchildren, aged 5–15 years (5988 in 6–12 year age group) was conducted. Goitres were graded as per WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD. UIE was measured by the arsenic acid reduction in ceric ions method and was estimated in 208 subsampled children. Results were compared with that of 1995 survey.

Results

The overall prevalence of goitre in the present study was 3·8% (95% CI: 3·4–4·2) and 3·7% (95% CI: 3·2–4·2) in those aged 6–12 years. No significant difference in prevalence of goitre was observed between boys and girls overall (3·6% vs 4·1%. > 0·2), nor in the 6–12 year age group (3·3% vs 4·0%, > 0·1). There was a significant trend of increasing prevalence of goitre with age (P < 0·005). UIE ranged from 12 to 397 μg/g.creatinine (median, 104); 11% subjects had UIE of <50 μg/g.creatinine. Overall, prevalence of goitre was significantly lower (3·8% vs 45·2%, < 0·001), and mean UIE was significantly higher (123·6 ± 5·3 vs 49·60 ± 3·55 μg/g.creatinine, < 0·001), compared to that in the 1995 survey.

Conclusion

The marked improvement in overall iodine nutrition in Kashmir Valley- one and a half decades after implementation of salt iodization should encourage healthcare providers to make tangible efforts for implementation of iodization programmes in areas with iodine deficiency.

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