Iodine Global Network (IGN)

Stable Iodine Nutrition During Two Decades of Continuous Universal Salt Iodisation in Sri Lanka

Universal salt iodisation (USI) was introduced in Sri Lanka in 1995. Since then, four national iodine surveys have assessed the iodine nutrition status of the population. We retrospectively reviewed median urine iodine concentration (mUIC) and goitre prevalence in 16,910 schoolchildren (6–12 years) in all nine provinces of Sri Lanka, the mUIC of pregnant women, drinking-water iodine level, and the percentage of households consuming adequately (15 mg/kg) iodised salt (household salt iodine, HHIS). The mUIC of schoolchildren increased from 145.3 µg/L (interquartile range (IQR) = 84.6–240.4) in 2000 to 232.5 µg/L (IQR = 159.3–315.8) in 2016, but stayed within recommended levels. Some regional variability in mUIC was observed (178.8 and 297.3 µg/L in 2016). There was positive association between mUIC in schoolchildren and water iodine concentration. Goitre prevalence to palpation was a significantly reduced from 18.6% to 2.1% (p < 0.05). In pregnant women, median UIC increased in each trimester (102.3 (61.7–147.1); 217.5 (115.6–313.0); 273.1 (228.9–337.6) µg/L (p = 0.000)). We conclude that the introduction and maintenance of a continuous and consistent USI programme has been a success in Sri Lanka. In order to sustain the programme, it is important to retain monitoring of iodine status while tracking salt-consumption patterns to adjust the recommended iodine content of edible salt.

Research article by: Renuka Jayatissa, Medical Research Institute of Sri Lanka / Jonathan Gorstein, University of Washington Seattle / Onyebuchi E. Okosieme / John H Lazarus, Cardiff University / Lakdasa D. Premawardhana


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