Global nutrition organisation Nutritional International undertook a nation-wide study – India Iodine Survey 2018-19. The study was conducted to estimate the iodine status of the population and to assess the extent of the availability of adequate iodised salt in Indian households.
The study was conducted in association with the AIIMS (All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences), New Delhi and ICCIDD (Association for Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders. It was found that 76.3 per cent of the household in India consumes adequate iodised salt, i.e. salt with 15 ppm of iodine.
Iodine is a vital micronutrient which is needed in adequate amount regularly for optimal physical and mental health. Deficiency in iodine can lead to goitre, hypothyroidism, abortion, mental retardation, psychomotor defects, and cretinism.
The study indicates that India has developed significantly in the direction of USI (Universal Salt Iodization), reaching 90 per cent of the population with adequately iodised salt.
According to WHO guidelines, daily iodine intake of 150μg is required to prevent iodine deficiency disorders which can be achieved if household salt contains a minimum of 15 ppm of iodine.
The study results were unrevealed by Dr Vinod Paul, Member (Health and Nutrition), NITI Aayog, Government of India and Dr Chandrakant S Pandav, President, Association for Indian Coalition for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders and Andrew O’Connel, Former Professor and Head, Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, Mini Varghese, Acting India Country Director, Nutrition International.
- 55 per cent of the people in the survey had heard about iodised salt, and 61.4 per cent of them mentioned prevention of goitre as the primary benefit of consuming iodised salt.
- Awareness about iodised salt was 62.2 per cent in urban areas and 50.5 per cent in rural areas.
- 56 per cent of the consumers identified iodised salt at the time of purchase from the use of the word `iodised’ printed on the packet. While only 21 per cent relied on information from the shopkeeper while purchasing the salt.
- While 74 per cent mentioned radio and television as their primary source of information.
- 82 per cent of households used refined salt, 12.7 per cent used crystal salt, and 5.3 per cent used crushed salt. Around 83 per cent of refined salt samples were adequately iodised, whereas only 49.7 per cent and 42.5 per cent of crushed and crystal salt samples were found to be adequately iodised.
- 8 per cent bought salt based in urban India on the brand wherein rural India 41.2 per cent purchases were made based on the price of salt.
The findings of the study show interesting results, and it will also help the authorities in enhancing enforcement and monitoring.