Health experts have called for iodine to be added to table salt after research suggested that more than two thirds of teenage girls could have a deficiency.
Researchers analysed more than 700 teenage girls at nine centres in the UK and discovered that women of childbearing age are most vulnerable to the dangers of a lack of iodine in their bodies. Even a mild deficiency can affect the development of a baby’s brain.
It has been claimed that the problem has come about as a result of a decline in the number of children drinking milk, which is a good source of iodine.
Around a third of the world’s population are affected by iodine deficiency, which is the most common cause of preventable mental impairment across the globe. A lack of iodine can also lead to thyroid problems.
A number of countries such as Switzerland and Denmark have been participating in an international scheme by the World Health Organisation, which has seen manufacturers adding iodine to salt. The UK is not signed up to such a programme, however.
Some doctors, including Dr Mark Vanderpump, who carried out the study on behalf of the British Thyroid Association, has advocated the implementation of such a programme.
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