The aim of this study was to determine the effect of multiple micronutrients fortified milk on the iodine status among Moroccan schoolchildren living in rural mountainous region known to have soils poor in iodine.
Iodine status was assessed in 84 children aged 7-9 y before and after consumption of milk fortified (FM) with potassium iodide, iron, vitamins A and D3, over a 9-mo period and was compared with that in a control group (n = 113) who consumed non fortified milk (NFM). Socio economic status, dietary habits, and growth were assessed as secondary outcomes.
Overall, our population has limited resources and the majority of parents are illiterates. Analysis of dietary habits showed that more than 40% of families did not consume milk, 95% did not use fortified salt and 100% did not eat shellfish. At baseline, 89.3% of children from the NFM group and 72% from FM group had an iodine deficiency. The median concentration of iodine was 59.6µg/l for the whole population and a significant difference was reported between both groups; 55.4 µg/l and 69.1µg/l for the NFM and the FM groups respectively. After 4 months of intervention, results showed a marked improvement of urinary iodine that was significantly higher in the FM group compared to NFM group (p<0.05). The intervention had no effect on anthropometry.
Micronutrient FM is a promising alternative vehicle to enhance the effect of salt iodization in improving iodine status in rural schoolchildren.Key words: Fortified milk, Schoolchildren, Morocco, Iodine deficiency, Rural, Mountainous.