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On 22 January 2014 The Guardian featured an article about the importance of iodine and vitamin D in developing countries. The micronutrient distribution challenge: Iodine and vitamin A are vital for child development

 

The UKISS Group responded with the following letter:

23 January 2014

Sir

We were interested to note your article concerning the micronutrient distribution challenge (Thursday 23rd Jan). We would like to point out that it is not just Africa and other developing nations that suffer from iodine deficiency. In fact, although it has been noted by The International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) that there have been substantial improvements worldwide in iodine nutrition during the past 20 years or so, there is evidence that several sections of the UK population are iodine deficient to a mild or moderate degree. There is limited availability of iodised salt in UK as there is no legislation to ensure the compulsory sale of this product. There is evidence from at least four areas of the UK that 50% or more pregnant women do not have adequate iodine nutrition. This is particularly important as inadequate iodine supply impacts negatively on aspects of the baby's brain and nervous system development with the result that the IQ and school performance is suboptimal. There is also evidence that 14-15 year-old girls are deficient in iodine, and these constitute the subgroup likely to become pregnant in a few years' time.

As a group of experts in iodine nutrition, thyroid disease and public health, we aim to promote awareness of the importance of iodine in the diet. In particular, we aim to eliminate iodine deficiency in women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and women who are breast-feeding, in order to safeguard their children's development, and especially their brain development. We are pleased that the chief medical officer has noted concerns relating to iodine nutrition in the UK and encourage continued efforts to improve iodine status in vulnerable UK groups.

Yours faithfully

Prof John Lazarus Chairman UKISS (United Kingdom Iodine Status Strategy) Group
Dr Sarah Bath
Dr Shiao Chan
Mrs Janis Hickey (British Thyroid Foundation)
Prof Kate Jolly
Prof Margaret Rayman
Dr Alex Stewart
Dr Mark Vanderpump
Prof Graham Williams (British Thyroid Association)

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