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Current status of iodine deficiency-related disorders prophylaxis in Slovakia – the life’s work of Julian Podoba remained unfinished

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Objective. Prophylaxis of iodine deficiency-related disorders with iodized salt in Slovakia was introduced in 1951. This prophylactic measure yielded remarkably good results. Endemic goiter and endemic cretinism disappeared. Sufficient iodine intake, mainly in children and adolescents, was confirmed in several local and international studies carried out in the period 1991–95. Unfortunately, since seventies, there has been no institution which would have dealt with iodine prophylaxis in such an extent as this important measure of Slovak preventive medicine would require. Neither systematic monitoring of iodine intake nor systematic population epidemiological studies have been carried out. We do not have any data on the iodine intake in pregnant women, the most vulnerable population group in relation to the iodine deficiency. During the period June 2014 – October 2015, we examined iodine excretion in 426 probands from three regions of Slovakia with an emphasis on the pregnant women.

Results. Iodine intake was found to be sufficient, even more than adequate, in all age groups of Slovak population. The only population group with iodine intake borderline or very mild iodine deficiency are pregnant women.

Conclusions: 1/ Iodine nutrition in Slovakia is generally sufficient, even oversteps the requirement, with the exception of pregnant women. Iodine intake in pregnant women should be fortified by iodine containing multivitamin preparations. 2/ We recommend to include the examination of urinary iodine into the screening of thyropathies in early pregnancy. 3/ It is not enough to implement the iodine deficiency-related disorders prevention programs, it is also necessary to stabilize such programs over time and balance the benefits with possible side effects of this program.