Iodine Deficiency

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Iodine deficiency is the single most common cause of preventable mental retardation and brain damage in the world. It also decreases child survival, causes goiters, and impairs growth and development. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women causes miscarriages, stillbirths, and other complications. Children with IDD can grow up stunted, apathetic, mentally retarded, and incapable of normal movements, speech, or hearing. 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.

Effective and affordable technology exists to prevent iodine deficiency and the problems it causes. The most important are iodized salt and effective monitoring of iodine nutrition.

Knowledge Source: The International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders

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