Food and Behaviour Research

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Iodine knowledge is positively associated with dietary iodine intake among women of childbearing age in the UK and Ireland.

O'Kane SM, Pourshahidi LK, Farren KM, Mulhern MS, Strain JJ, Yeates AJ.2016 (2016)    

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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.