The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Iodine deficiency in pregnancy

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Iodine deficiency in pregnancy

According to researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute, iodine deficiency is the single most common cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage in the world.  Children with IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disorder) can grow up stunted, apathetic, mentally retarded and incapable of normal movement, speech or hearing. IDD in pregnant women cause miscarriage, stillbirth and mentally retarded children. IDD affects 50 million children around the world. A teaspoon of iodine is all a person requires in a lifetime from iodized salt or naturally occuring iodine in food. This costs only  $0.04 per person annually.  So why is iodine deficiency such a problem?  Globally, 2.2 billion people (38% of the world's population) live in areas with iodine deficiency and risks its complications. Iodine deficiency was once considered a minor problem, causing goiter, an unsightly but seemingly benign cosmetic blemish. However, it is now known that the effects on the developing brain are much more deadly, and constitute a threat to the social and economic development of many countries.

In the United States, iodine has been voluntarily supplemented in table salt. Salt was selected as the medium for iodine supplementation because intake is uniform across all socioeconomic strata, intake is uniform across seasons of the year, supplementation is achieved using simple technology, and the program is inexpensive.  Additionally, iodine naturally occurs in marine fish, which concentrate the mineral from seawater.  So, if you live in an area of the country where your grazing or growing land was not a sea bed at one time, you would be at risk for iodine deficiency and should use iodized salt for cooking.  It's as simple as that!

Proper nutrition is valuable for a healthy body and a healthy baby.

Happy parenting!

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