• 1 Ministry of Health
Int J Public Health Res, 2013;3(1):198-203.


Iodine deficiency is still prevalent worldwide and it is the main cause of goiter, thyroid dysfunction and mental retardation. The aim of the study was to determine the iodine status and goiter prevalence among the school children in Terengganu. The representative sample consists of 1163 primary school children aged 8-10 years old randomly selected from urban and rural schools in Terengganu using stratified systematic random sampling technique. Urinary iodine levels in spot urine were determined by in house modified micro-method while goiter assessment was carried out by palpation of thyroid gland. The status of iodine deficiency was determined by the median urinary iodine concentrations (UIC) and total goiter prevalence (TGP) in accordance with the WHO criteria. The result showed the median [inter-quartile range (IQR)] urinary iodine concentrations was 78.7µg/L (50.1µg/L -120.0µg/L) indicating the iodine intake was slightly lower than recommended range of 100 µg/L. The rural school children had a significantly lower Iodine levels (median UIC=72.4µg/L, IQR=46.7µg/L -113.0µg/L) than the urban school children (median UIC=87.7µg/L, IQR=54.5 µg/L - 127.5µg/L). The total goiter prevalence (TGP) was 5.7%. The prevalence of goiter was significantly higher in rural (TGP=6.9%) compared to urban areas (TGP=3.6%). The study revealed that school children in Terengganu showed mild iodine deficiency and the condition is more pronounced in children from rural areas. The findings emphasize the importance of intervention implementation, universal salt iodization to ensure sufficient intake of iodine among the Terengganu school children.