Our objective was to measure the iodine content of bouillon cubes, estimate their daily intake in school-aged children (SAC) and evaluate their potential contribution to iodine intakes.
In a cross sectional study in two primary schools in northern Ghana, we measured urinary iodine concentrations (UIC) and body weights in 6-13 y-old SAC and estimated total daily iodine intakes. We administered a questionnaire on usage of bouillon cubes. We measured the iodine content of bouillon cubes, household salt, drinking water and milk products..
Among SAC (n = 250), median (IQR) UIC and estimated iodine intake were 242 (163, 365) µg/L and 129 (85, 221) µg/day, indicating adequate iodine status. Median household salt iodine concentration (n = 100) was 2.0 (0.83, 7.4) µg/g; 72% of samples contained <5 µg iodine/g. Iodine concentrations in drinking water and milk-based drinks was negligible. Median iodine content of bouillon cubes was 27.2 (17.5, 31.4) µg/g. Estimated median (IQR) per capita consumption of bouillon cubes was 2.4 (1.5, 3.3) g/day and median iodine intake from bouillon cubes was 88 (51, 110) µg/day.
Despite low household coverage with iodized salt, iodine nutrition in school-age children is adequate and an estimated two-thirds of their iodine intake is obtained from bouillon cubes containing iodized salt.