Adequate I intake is important before conception and during pregnancy for optimal infant neurodevelopment. Recent studies have highlighted the prevalence of I deficiency in the UK and Ireland. It is possible that optimal I intake may be impeded by a poor knowledge of I nutrition.
This study aimed to investigate I knowledge among women of childbearing age in the UK and Ireland and to determine whether a relationship exists between I knowledge and dietary I intake. Females (aged 18-45 years) were invited to complete an online questionnaire, which assessed knowledge of I and estimated dietary I intake using a FFQ. A total of 520 females of childbearing age completed the study.
I knowledge was poor; only one-third (32 %) of the participants correctly identified pregnancy as the most important stage of the lifecycle for I, and 41 % of participants could not correctly identify any health problem related to I deficiency. The median daily I intake was estimated as 152 µg/d. Almost half (46 %) of the participants failed to meet dietary recommendations (140 µg/d) for I. A higher dietary I intake was positively associated with greater I knowledge (r 0·107; P=0·016).
This study suggests that knowledge of I nutrition is low among women of childbearing age, and those with a greater knowledge of I nutrition had a higher dietary I intake. Initiatives to educate women of childbearing age on the importance of I nutrition should be considered as part of a larger public health strategy to address I deficiency.
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