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Nutrients 2016, 8(2), 74; doi:10.3390/nu8020074

Iodine Status of Women of Reproductive Age in Sierra Leone and Its Association with Household Coverage with Adequately Iodized Salt

GroundWork, Crans-près-Céligny 1299, Switzerland
UNICEF, Freetown, Sierra Leone
World Health Organization, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Helen Keller International, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Freetown, Sierra Leone
World Health Organization West Africa, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
UNICEF Headquarters, New York, NY 10017, USA
World Health Organization Headquarters, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 December 2015 / Revised: 8 January 2016 / Accepted: 18 January 2016 / Published: 3 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrients and National Strategies to Impact Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [592 KB, uploaded 3 February 2016]   |  


Salt iodization programs are a public health success in tackling iodine deficiency. Yet, a large proportion of the world’s population remains at risk for iodine deficiency. In a nationally representative cross-sectional survey in Sierra Leone, household salt samples and women’s urine samples were quantitatively analyzed for iodine content. Salt was collected from 1123 households, and urine samples from 817 non-pregnant and 154 pregnant women. Household coverage with adequately iodized salt (≥15 mg/kg iodine) was 80.7%. The median urinary iodine concentration (UIC) of pregnant women was 175.8 µg/L and of non-pregnant women 190.8 µg/L. Women living in households with adequately iodized salt had higher median UIC (for pregnant women: 180.6 µg/L vs. 100.8 µg/L, respectively, p < 0.05; and for non-pregnant women: 211.3 µg/L vs. 97.8 µg/L, p < 0.001). Differences in UIC by residence, region, household wealth, and women’s education were much smaller in women living in households with adequately iodized salt than in households without. Despite the high household coverage of iodized salt in Sierra Leone, it is important to reach the 20% of households not consuming adequately iodized salt. Salt iodization has the potential for increasing equity in iodine status even with the persistence of other risk factors for deficiency. View Full-Text
Keywords: iodine status; salt iodization; salt iodine levels; household equity; Sierra Leone iodine status; salt iodization; salt iodine levels; household equity; Sierra Leone

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rohner, F.; Wirth, J.P.; Woodruff, B.A.; Chiwile, F.; Yankson, H.; Sesay, F.; Koroma, A.S.; Petry, N.; Pyne-Bailey, S.; Dominguez, E.; Kupka, R.; Hodges, M.H.; de Onis, M. Iodine Status of Women of Reproductive Age in Sierra Leone and Its Association with Household Coverage with Adequately Iodized Salt. Nutrients 2016, 8, 74.

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