Norwegian version

Iodine status in different population groups

The overall objective of this project is to investigate iodine status in vulnerable population groups such as children, young women, vegans, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and the elderly.

Iodine is an essential micronutrient necessary for the formation thyroid hormones T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). 

The intake of iodine is alarmingly low in parts of the population in Norway. Iodine deficiency can have negative consequences, both for women's own health, including reproductive health, and for the development of their future children. 

The studies in this project confirm that low iodine intake is widespread among women of childbearing age, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, exclusively breastfed infants, the elderly, vegans, and vegetarians. 

In this project, 9 articles have been published and 3 articles are being prepared.

  • Participants

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  • More about the project

    The health authorities in Norway are currently considering adding iodine to household salt and compulsory use of iodized salt in industrially produced bread and bakery products. 

    To ensure an adequate iodine intake in the population, WHO recommends salt fortification and that iodine status in groups should be monitored regularly. 

    Norway do not currently follow these recommendations. Norway is listed as a country with iodine deficiency by the WHO, but there is a lack of data on iodine status and determinants in different parts of the population. 

    Historically, iodine deficiency and goitre has been common in some inland areas where the consumption of saltwater fish was low. From the 1950s, iodine was added to the feed for livestock to prevent iodine deficiency in the animals. 

    Iodine passed to the milk, making milk the most important dietary source of iodine in the Norwegian diet. During the last decades, trends in the diet characterized by a decrease in milk and fish consumption have created a re-emergence of iodine deficiency. 

    The goal in this project is to establish a permanent monitoring programme for iodine surveillance in accordance with WHO recommendations that be repeated every 5 years. 

  • Partner institutions

    • Norwegian Institute of Marine Research
    • Norwegian Institute of Public Health
    • Norwegian University of Life Science
    • University of Agder, Norway
    • University of California, Davis, USA
    • ETH Zurich, Switzerland