It is well established that iodine supplementation is effective in correcting iodine deficiency and reducing goiter prevalence. In Italy, legislation has allowed the production of iodized salt since 1972, but its consumption is on a voluntary basis. In the present study, the efficacy of legislative measures that made compulsory the availability of iodized salt in foodstores has been evaluated. Urinary iodine excretion and thyroid size, scored according to Pan American Health Organization recommendations, were determined prior to (1981) and 10 years after (1991) the introduction of legislative measures in the whole schoolchildren population residing in a restricted area of the Tuscan Appennines. Moreover, in 1991, thyroid volume was determined by ultrasonography. In 1981, mean urinary iodine excretion was 47.1±22.4 mg/kg creatinine (0.412 μmol/l) and goiter prevalence was 60%, indicating a moderate iodine deficiency. Eighty of the families subsequently used iodized salt on a regular basis; as a result of this excellent compliance, in 1991 the mean urinary iodine excretion increased to 129.7±73 mg/kg creatinine (1.24 μmol/l) and goiter prevalence dropped to 8.1%. The results of this study underline the effectiveness of iodine prophylaxis in correcting iodine deficiency and abating endemic goiter in schoolchildren, and suggest that implementation of measures that make compulsory the availability of iodized salt in foodstores overcomes the fact that there is no law governing the exclusive production and trading of iodized salt.
F Aghini-Lombardi, A Pinchera, L Antonangeli, T Rago, GF Fenzi, P Nanni and P Vitti
L Antonangeli, D Maccherini, R Cavaliere, C Di Giulio, B Reinhardt, A Pinchera and F Aghini-Lombardi
OBJECTIVE: A prospective randomized trial was performed to assess the usefulness of iodine supplementation in the prevention of goiter in pregnant women living in marginally iodine-deficient areas. DESIGN: Eighty-six pregnant women were recruited and randomized in two groups and treated daily for up to six months after delivery with 200 microg iodide (group A) or 50 microg iodide (group B). Sixty-seven women (32 in group A and 35 in group B) completed the study. METHODS: Thyroid volume (TV), thyroid functional parameters and urinary iodine concentration were determined in all subjects at booking, at the 18th-26th, and the 29th-33rd week of gestation, and at the 3rd and 6th month after delivery. RESULTS: A slight but not significant increase in TV during gestation was observed only in group B. After delivery a progressive decrease in TV was documented in both groups, the final TV being significantly reduced with respect to the initial volume in group A. No significant changes in serum free thyroid hormones and TSH concentrations were found during gestation in either group. Postpartum thyroiditis was observed in 5 women (2 in group A, 3 in group B). No side effects were seen. CONCLUSION: The present data indicate that in marginally iodine-deficient areas, the administration of iodide is recommended in pregnancy and lactation. In the conditions of the present trial a dose of 50 microg iodide/day is a safe and effective measure in preventing an increase in TV during pregnancy but a dose of 200 microg iodide/day appeared to be more effective without inducing side effects and without enhancing the frequency of post-partum thyroiditis.