Knowledge of the Importance of Iodine in Nutrition among Adults in Latvia

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Abstract

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) states that it is essential for people to understand what constitutes a healthy diet and to know how to use their resources in the most effective way. Iodine is an essential nutrient for mammals, required as a mandatory structural and functional element of thyroid hormones. Previous studies in Latvia highlighted a tendency of reduced level of iodine for newborns, school-age children and pregnant women. No studies in the general adult population had been conducted yet. The aim of the study was to evaluate the level of knowledge regarding the role of iodine in nutrition in the adult population of Latvia. In total 199 adults participated in the survey. Data on the knowledge about the occurrence of iodine in nature and foodstuffs, the role of iodine in nutrition, and its deficiency were obtained. Results of the survey showed that only 4.5% of respondents used iodised salt daily in the diet. One-fourth knew that iodine is widely found in the environment and more than one-third knew all of the main functions of iodine in the human body. Salt and sea food were mentioned as the most common iodine sources. While iodised salt is used rarely, public awareness about the role of iodine is good and potential iodine deficiency in Latvia is likely due to unbalanced diet rather than lack of knowledge.

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