Determinants of iodine deficiency in school children in different regions of Ethiopia

  • A Cherinet
  • U Kelbessa


Objective: To determine the magnitude of goitre in school children and measure indicators of iodine deficiency including the most commonly consumed staple foods.
Design: A cross-sectional study.
Setting: Ten villages from four administrative regions of Ethiopia.
Subjects: A total of 2485 randomly selected elementary school children were examined for clinical signs of goitre. Indicators of iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) assessed were urinary iodine excretion (UIE) rate, iodine concentration in water, the commonly consumed individual foods of plant origin and milk, and bacterial contamination of drinking water.
Results: The gross prevalence (mean of male and female values) among school children was 53.3%. The prevalence was higher in females (56.1%) than in males (50.8%). The highest prevalence (82 and 91%, respectively) were observed in the villages of Lotte and Kodowono and the lowest (31%) in the village of Abossara. Of the urinary measurements, 70% of the samples showed moderate and 30% mild iodine deficiency. Levels of iodine in water and individual food samples were low in general. Breast milk iodine content was similarly low and related to the maternal daily iodine intake which may affect the nutritional status of the nursing infant. The study also provides further evidence that coliforms and E. coli isolated from drinking water contribute to the high incidence of endemic goitre other than iodine

Conclusion: It is difficult to obtain a sufficient iodine intake in the survey villages as the individual foods are very low in the element. However, IDD can be prevented by ensuring normal iodine nutrition through instituting ways that avail iodinated salt to the survey


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eISSN: 0012-835X