Salt-reduction strategies may compromise salt iodization programs: Learnings from South Africa and Ghana
Objectives: Universal salt iodization has been adopted by many countries to address iodine deficiency. More recently, salt-reduction strategies have been widely implemented to meet global salt intake targets of <5 g/d. Compatibility of the two policies has yet to be demonstrated. This study compares urinary iodine excretion (UIE) according to 24-h urinary sodium excretion, between South Africa (SA) and Ghana; both countries have implemented universal salt iodization, but in Ghana no salt-reduction legislation has been implemented. Methods: Participants from the World Health Organization's Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health Wave 3, with survey and valid 24-h urinary data (Ghana, n = 495; SA, n = 707), comprised the sample. Median 24-h UIE was compared across salt intake categories of <5, 5–9 and >9 g/d. Results: In Ghana, median sodium excretion indicated a salt intake of 10.7 g/d (interquartile range [IQR] = 7.6), and median UIE was 182.4 µg/L (IQR = 162.5). In SA, both values were lower: median salt = 5.6 g/d (IQR = 5.0), median UIE = 100.2 µg/L (IQR = 129.6). UIE differed significantly across salt intake categories (P < 0.001) in both countries, with positive correlations observed in both—Ghana: r = 0.1501, P < 0.0011; South Africa: r = 0.4050, P < 0.0001. Participants with salt intakes <9 g/d in SA did not meet the World Health Organization's recommended iodine intake of 150 µg/d, but this was not the case in Ghana. Conclusions: Monitoring and surveillance of iodine status is recommended in countries that have introduced salt-reduction strategies, in order to prevent reemergence of iodine deficiency.
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National Institute on Aging