Iodine status and academic performance of school age children (6-12 years) in Umuahia North local government area, Abia state Nigeria
Oguizu AD, Alozie PC
Iodine is a trace element required in minute quantities for proper growth and development of human brain and body. Iodine deficiency is recognized as the most preventable cause of brain damage in the world. The study assessed the iodine status and academic performance of school aged children in Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State. Urine samples were obtained from 130 children, 70 males and 60 females. Background and socio-economic information, food consumption pattern and academic performance were all determined using validated questionnaire. Urinary iodine concentration analysis, using Sandell-Kolthoff reaction was used to determine the iodine status of the children while the average of a session’s result was used to assess their academic performance. Pearson correlation was used to determine the relationship between academic performance and iodine status among male and female children. The result showed that 39.2% of the children were 6-7 years, 34.0% were 8-9 years, and 23.1% were 10-11 years, while 3.8% were 12 years. All the respondents claimed that they have heard about iodized salt; 50.8% heard about iodized salt at the market, 3.8% heard it from their relatives while 34.6% heard about iodized salt from the media (TV and Radio). Majority of the respondents (91.5%) claimed they consume iodized salt while 8.5% said they use salts that are measured in cups which is not iodized salt. The study indicated that 6.9% had moderate iodine deficiency, 24.6% had mild iodine deficiency, and 50.8% had optimal status while 17.7% had more than adequate iodine sufficiency. For academic performance scores, 31.5% scored average, 47.0% above average, 21.5% scored excellent. There was a significant relationship between mothers’ income and fathers’ education and iodine status (p< 0.05). Nutrition education should be aimed at mothers, caregivers, and school children to promote consumption of iodine rich foods.