Academic journal article Journal of Health Population and Nutrition

Association between Serum Ferritin and Goitre in Iranian School Children

Academic journal article Journal of Health Population and Nutrition

Association between Serum Ferritin and Goitre in Iranian School Children

Article excerpt


Iodine-deficiency disorders (IDDs) are still a major health problem estimated to affect 750 million people worldwide (1). The spectrum of these disorders includes endemic goitre, hypothyroidism, endemic cretinism, and other congenital anomalies (2). One of micronutrients that can potentially influence IDDs is iron (3-5). Deficiencies of iron and iodine are major overlapping public-health problems in the developing world, and many children are at a high risk of both goitre and iron-deficiency anaemia (6). Iron deficiency adversely affects the physiology of thyroid, and supplementation of iron may improve the efficacy of oral iodized oil in goitrous children with iron-deficiency anaemia (7).

Endemic goitre is present in most parts of Iran (8), and iodine deficiency is considered a contributing factor for endemic goitre in the country (9). The National Committee for Control of IDD was formed in 1989 by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. The production and distribution of iodized salt (40 mg of potassium iodide per kg of sodium chloride) began, and education of policymakers, health personnel, and public on IDD was initiated in 1990. However, a survey of consumption of iodized salt showed that less than 50% of the population consumed iodized salt in 1993 with the mean urinary iodine of 5.0-8.2 [micro]g/dL. Therefore, the first law requiring the mandatory iodization of all salts for household use was promulgated in 1994 (10). Isfahan is a city in central part of Iran with an approximate population of 2,000,000. The prevalence of goitre in Isfahan was estimated to be 92% in girls and 85% in boys in 1989 (11). Results of another study in 1997 showed that the prevalence of goitre among children aged 6-18 years in Isfahan was 62% (12).

The present study was carried out to estimate the prevalence of goitre and status of iodine and investigate the role of iron deficiency as a possible contributor to endemic goitre in school children of Isfahan, 15 years after the initiation of salt-iodization programme.


This cross-sectional study was performed on school children in Isfahan in 2005. Subjects were enrolled by multistage cluster random sampling (n=2,331). We excluded children with a history of exposure to radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery, or significant underlying disease, such as cardiopulmonary, liver or renal problems based on available medical records and interviewing parents and teachers.

Two endocrinologists performed goitre grading according to the classification of the World Health Organization/United Nations Children's Fund/International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency (WHO/UNICEF/ICCIDD) (1):

Grade 0: No palpable or visible goitre.

Grade 1: A goitre that is palpable but not visible when the neck is in normal position (i.e. the thyroid is not visibly enlarged).

Grade 2: A swelling in the neck that is clearly visible when the neck is in normal position and is consistent with an enlarged thyroid when the neck is palpated.

Written informed consent was taken from parents of all children. The Ethics Committee of the Isfahan Endocrine and Metabolism Research Center approved the study. A trained staff member drew a venous blood sample in a sitting position. The blood samples were transported on dry ice to the reference laboratory of the Isfahan Endocrine and Metabolic Research Center where these were stored at -70[degrees]C until analysis. Urine samples were also collected for measuring iodine excretion. All blood and urine assays were performed within a median of 26 hours after sampling. The same person performed each assay using the same method.

Urine iodine concentration (UIC) was measured by the digestion method based on a modification of Sandell-Kolthoff reaction (1,13). Serum ferritin (SF) was measured using immunoradiometric assay. Iron deficiency was defined as SF of <15 [micro]g/ L. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.