Iodine Status of School Children Aged 6 to 12 Years in Rural and Urban Communities in Imo State, Southeast Nigeria

Tochi Izuagba

Department of Paediatrics, Federal University Teaching Hospital Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.

Emeka Nwolisa *

Department of Paediatrics, Federal University Teaching Hospital Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.

Fidelis Njokanma

Department of Paediatrics, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Background: Iodine is a trace element essential for the synthesis of thyroid hormones, thyroxine and triiodothyronine, which in turn play a crucial role in the growth and development of most organs, especially the brain. Iodine deficiency is therefore a serious medical condition fraught with dire consequences. Median urinary iodine concentrations of 100–199 mcg/L in children and adults, 150–249 mcg/L in pregnant women and >100 mcg/L in lactating women indicate iodine intakes are adequate.

Objective: This study set to determine the Iodine status of children aged 6-12 years using MUIC in selected urban and rural communities of Imo state, South East Nigeria.

Methods: It was cross sectional in nature and was carried out between July 2018 and January 2019. It involved 386 children aged 6-12 years who were selected from primary schools in both urban and rural local areas within the three educational zones of Imo State. Their urinary Iodine concentration was assayed using Ammonium persulphate technique of the Sandell- Koltkoff reaction method.

Results: The median urine iodine concentration (MUIC) in the study participants ranged from 65 – 490 mcg/l with a median of 160mcg/l. While median urine iodine concentrations (MUIC) of 160 mcg/L and 156mcg/L, respectively, were observed in urban-dwelling and rural-dwelling school children respectively. Of the 386 participants, 30 had a MUIC of < 100\(\mu\)g/L therefore giving an iodine deficiency prevalence of 7.8%. They consisted of 14 participants from the urban areas and 16 from the rural areas. The difference between MUIC of children in rural and urban areas of Imo state was not statistically significant . (χ2 = 0.10: p = 0.75).

Conclusion: While there was Iodine deficiency prevalence of 7.8%, there was no statistically significant difference between the Iodine status of pupils in urban and rural areas of Imo state.

Keywords: Urinary Iodine, Iodine deficiency, Rural, Urban Imo state

How to Cite

Izuagba , T., Nwolisa , E., & Njokanma , F. (2023). Iodine Status of School Children Aged 6 to 12 Years in Rural and Urban Communities in Imo State, Southeast Nigeria. International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health, 44(21), 8–15.


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