Sustainable control of iodine deficiency in Iran: Beneficial results of the implementation of the mandatory law on salt iodization
Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) were prevalent in the Islamic Republic (IR) of IRAN before 1989, when the national salt iodization program with 40 mg l/k of salt was initiated. Despite a comprehensive IDD control program, less than 50% of the households in rural areas consumed iodized salt by 1994. A law for the mandatory production of iodized salt for households was passed in 1994. The purpose of this study was to evaluate goiter status and urinary iodine excretion 2 yr after this law was implemented. In each of 26 provinces, 30 groups of 40 schoolchildren, total 36,178, were examined for goiter and classified according to World Health Organization (WHO) classification. Urinary iodine excretion was measured in 2,917 children by digestion method. Goiter was endemic in all provinces, but the majority were small (grade 1) goiter. Median urinary iodine was 20.5 mug/dl 85.1% had urinary iodine greater than or equal to10 mug/dl. Median urinary iodine was above 13 mug/dl in all 26 provinces. In all provinces the percentage of schoolchildren with urinary iodine <5 μg/dl was less than 16%. In nine provinces the median urinary iodine was between 13 to 20 gμ/dl; urinary iodine of their schoolchildren was <5 mug/dl in 10.8% and <2 μg/dl in 6-9%. No significant difference was observed between boys and girls or children of rural and urban regions in urinary iodine excretion. We conclude that 7 yr after the beginning of salt iodization and 2 yr following mandatory iodized salt consumption, urinary iodine excretion is adequate in schoolchildren; considering the data of the percent of households consuming iodized salt and programmatic setting of the IDD program, The IR of Iran has reached a sustainable control program for iodine deficiency.