Epidemiology of Iodine Deficiency

  • Małgorzata GizakEmail author
  • Jonathan Gorstein
  • Maria Andersson


Global efforts to control iodine deficiency through the highly successful strategy of salt iodization have been in effect for over two decades. In 2016, urinary iodine concentration (UIC) data in school-age children are available for 127 countries: 15 countries are classified as iodine deficient, 102 have optimal iodine nutrition, and 10 have excess iodine intakes. This reflects tremendous global progress against iodine deficiency. Increasingly, countries are recognizing the importance of monitoring the iodine status in populations that are particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences of iodine deficiency, such as pregnant women. For the first time, global UIC data in pregnant women have been compiled and presented, based on surveys from 65 countries. The iodine intake in pregnant women is insufficient in 37 countries, and the main challenge is to further strengthen the delivery of salt iodization programs to ensure that iodized salt meets the iodine requirements of pregnant women.


Iodine deficiency Monitoring Iodine status Urinary iodine Epidemiology Pregnant women School-age children Iodized salt 



Estimated average requirement


Iodine deficiency disorders


International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders


Iodine Global Network


Pregnant women


School-age children


Total goiter rate


Urinary iodine concentration


World Health Organization


Women of reproductive age



We thank Vincent Assey, Karen Codling, Nita Dalmiya, Gregory Gerasimov, Izzeldin Hussein, Pieter Jooste, John Lazarus, Gary Ma, Qian Ming, Chandrakant S. Pandav, Elizabeth Pearce, Eduardo A. Pretell, Ekaterina Troshina, and Michael B Zimmermann for providing recent country data on iodine status. We also thank Karen Abbott for help in compiling data on the iodine status in pregnant women.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Małgorzata Gizak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jonathan Gorstein
    • 1
  • Maria Andersson
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Nutrition Laboratory, Institute of Food, Nutrition and HealthETH Zurich and Iodine Global NetworkZurichSwitzerland

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