Risks of excess iodine intake in Ghana: current situation, challenges, and lessons for the future

Brenda A.Z. Abu, Wilna Oldewage-Theron, Richmond N.O. Aryeetey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

In Ghana, iodine deficiency was first reported in 1994 among 33% of the population. A nationwide Universal Salt Iodization (USI) program plus other complementary interventions were subsequently implemented as a response. Our paper reviews the current risks of excess iodine status in Ghana and identifies policy and research gaps. A mixed methods review of 12 policies and institutional reports and 13 peer-reviewed articles was complemented with consultations with 23 key informants (salt producers and distributors, food processors, regulatory agency officials, and healthcare providers) purposively sampled between May and August 2017. The findings show a strong policy environment indicated by regulations on food and salt fortification (Act 851), including the USI regulation. However, currently, only a third of Ghanaian households use adequately iodized salt. Recent evidence shows that voluntarily fortified processed foods (including condiments) supply a considerable amount of iodine to the food system. Limited biological impact data suggest possible household exposure to excessive dietary iodine (>15 parts per million). Currently, there is no systematic tracking of iodine content from fortified foods and other sources. Cross-sectoral actions are needed to understand this situation better. Key research gap is the lack of comprehensive data on iodine content and intake from other sources in Ghana.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-138
Number of pages22
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume1446
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Ghana
  • excess iodine intake
  • fortification
  • iodized salt
  • program implementation

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