Contributed by Marie Joy L. Simpao, PIA
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – The Department of Health (DOH) encourages the public to consume the right amount of iodine to help address iodine deficiency disorders in the region.
“If we try to look at our statistics, prevalence of those who have goiter is high especially among children and pregnant women primarily because our diet lacks iodine,” DOH Regional Nutritionist-Dietitian Margarita Natividad said.
Goiter, she said, is now categorized not merely as a deficiency but as a disease.
“If a pregnant woman has goiter, this may lead to miscarriage. If not, there are still dangers of abnormalities in the child like cretinism, dwarfism, and low intelligence quotient,” Natividad said.
To address this nutritional problem, DOH advocates for the use of iodized salt since this is the most accessible and commonly used ingredient by both rich and poor households.
Natividad said 40-60 ppm of iodine is required in salt and each individual is allocated one kilogram of salt per year or equivalent to one teaspoon per day, including hidden salts or salts derived from food.
Aside from table salt, the nutritionist-dietitian also advocates the consumption of sea foods, along with other meat products and vegetables since these are also rich sources of iodine.
Aside from creating awareness on the importance of iodized salt, Natividad said the DOH and the National Nutrition also plan to conduct trainings for the salt manufacturers and partner with other government agencies to make iodized salt and other iodine-fortified products more accessible and available in the market.
She also appealed to the local chief executives to be more stringent in ensuring that the salt being sold and distributed in their markets are iodized.
The fourth week of January ever year is declared as Goiter Awareness Week based on Presidential Proclamation No. 1188 promulgated on December 11, 2006.