Background Iodine deficiency has re-emerged in Australia. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need higher iodine intakes (estimated average requirements: 160 μg/day and 190 μg/day) than non-pregnant women (100 μg/day) because iodine is critical for early infant development. The impact of iodine fortification of bread on women's iodine intake is evaluated by reproductive status using 2003 Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) food frequency data and projected onto 1995 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) daily food consumption data for women of child-bearing age.
Methods Recent iodine analyses of Australian foods were combined with reported intakes of key foods to estimate iodine intake before and after fortification for 665 pregnant, 432 zero to 6 months postpartum, 467 seven to 12 months postpartum and 7324 non-pregnant women. Differences in mean iodine intake between these groups were projected onto NNS estimates of total iodine intake for women of child-bearing age.
Results Pregnant and postpartum women reported eating more bread than did non-pregnant women. Mean iodine intakes (μg/day before; and after fortification) from key foods were higher in pregnant (78; 124), 0–6 months postpartum (75; 123) and 7–12 months postpartum (71; 117) than in non-pregnant women (65; 103). Projecting ALSWH results onto the NNS yields total mean iodine intakes of 167, 167, 160 and 146 for the same groups.
Conclusion Current iodine intakes are well below dietary recommendations. The impact of iodine fortification of bread would be greater for pregnant and postpartum women than has been previously estimated using general population intakes, but additional strategies to increase intakes by these groups are still needed.
- population surveys
- public health epidemiology
- thyroid DI
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Funding We are grateful to the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing for funding. The current analysis was funded by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
Competing interests None.
Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the University of Newcastle and University of Queensland.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.