In the Philippines, one of the most common diseases that affect the thyroid gland is goiter.
“Goiter is prevalent in the Philippines,” says Dr. Gabriel Jasul, Jr., director of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism. “It is common and is still a formidable disease that affects women of reproductive age and school children.”
Based on the studies of urinary iodine levels conducted by the Department of Health, most goiter cases are found in the mountainous provinces and other remote areas of the country. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute performed a nutritional survey in 1998 to assess the extent of iodine deficiency among 10,616 school children aged six to 12 years. It was discovered that the country as a whole had mild iodine deficiency.
Thanks to the introduction of iodized salt, goiters have become much less common than they once were. The Philippines has regulations calling for 20 to 40 micrograms (mcg) of iodine per gram of salt. As such, if a person eats five grams of salt iodized at 30 ppm, he or she gets 150 mcg iodine from this source alone.