Despite longstanding voluntary salt iodisation in Switzerland, data suggest inadequate iodine intake in vulnerable population groups. In response, the salt iodine concentration was increased from 20 to 25 mg/kg and we assessed the impact on iodine status.
We conducted a cross-sectional national study in school-age children (n = 731), women of reproductive age (n = 353) and pregnant women (n = 363). We measured urinary iodine concentration (UIC) and urinary sodium concentration (UNaC) in spot urine samples. The current median UIC was compared with national data from 1999, 2004 and 2009. We measured TSH, total T4 and thyroglobulin (Tg) on dried blood spot samples collected in women.
The median UIC (bootstrapped 95% CI) was 137 µg/L (131, 143 µg/L) in school children, 88 µg/L (72, 103 µg/L) in women of reproductive age and 140 µg/L (124, 159 µg/L) in pregnant women. Compared to 2009, the median UIC increased modestly in school children (P < 0.001), but did not significantly change in pregnant women (P = 0.417). Estimated sodium intake exceeded the recommendations in all population groups. The prevalence of thyroid disorders in women was low, but Tg was elevated in 13% of the pregnant women.
Iodine intake is overall adequate in Swiss school-age children, but only borderline sufficient in pregnant and non-pregnant women, despite high salt intakes and satisfactory household coverage with iodized salt. Our findings suggest increasing the concentration of iodine in salt may not improve iodine intakes in women if iodised salt is not widely used in processed foods.
This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02312466.