Background: Mandatory fortification of bread with iodised salt is proposed to address the re-emergence of iodine deficiency in Australia and New Zealand. The impacts of fortification require baseline data of iodine status and dietary salt intake.
Objective: To assess the iodine status and salt intake of healthy women in NSW; determine knowledge regarding salt in the diet; and understand attitudes towards an iodine fortification program.
Design: Cross-sectional study of 62 women aged 20 ÃÂÃÂ¿ 55 y, conveniently sampled in Wollongong, NSW. A single 24-hr urine sample was collected for urinary sodium and iodine (UIC). A self-administered questionnaire assessed consumer understanding, perceptions and attitudes related to iodine fortification and health-related knowledge about salt.
Outcomes: Median UIC = 56 ÃÂÃÂµg/L (IQR = 41 - 68); 83% had some degree of suboptimal iodine status (UIC <100 ÃÂÃÂµg/L) while 40% had UIC <50 ÃÂÃÂµg/L (moderate deficiency). Knowledge about iodine was poor with less than half associating low iodine status with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Health education and supplementation, particularly at the medical practitioner interface, was considered the best strategy for improving low iodine levels. Mean Na excretion equated to a salt intake of 6.6 g/day; 39 % had values < 6g/day. Dietary practices to lower salt intake reflected a high awareness of salt-related health issues.
Conclusions: The iodine status of women in the Illawarra was low. These data add support to the need for a national approach to address iodine intake. The consumer data provide useful information to inform the accompanying consumer education campaign