Researchers are conducting a study at the University of Queensland to determine the iodine status of children aged 8-10 years who have been living in South East Queensland for 2-3 years. The UQ's Children's Nutrition Research Center is currently looking for volunteers for this vital study to establish whether children from the South East Queensland area are eating the right amounts of iodine by evaluating urinary levels of iodine, thyroid
hormones and dietary intake of children residing in different areas of the state.
Nutritionist Anna Walsh, who is part of the research team, notes that iodine can influence children's learning ability, behavior, moods, metabolism and physical growth, saying:
"Both iodine deficiency and iodine excess have been associated with autoimmune disease and lower IQ scores in children. Inappropriate iodine intake can have irreversible detrimental consequences on children's quality of life."
According to Ms Walsh the research team want to establish the connection between foods consumed by children and their risk of iodine deficiency or excess.
"We believe that it's important to identify the impact of overall diet, and specific foods eaten by children, and why iodine intake varies amongst different groups of people. Concerns about the level of iodine deficiency in Australia were expressed in 2006, which lead Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to implement the 2009 mandatory fortification of iodine into bread. The effectiveness of this public health intervention remains unknown and the change in iodine status associated with iodine fortification need to be monitored."
Written by Petra Rattue
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