Prevention of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) 2001–2005

Note: Pages in this section have been stored solely for archiving purposes. Information contained here refers to the 2001–2005 CPAP. Follow this link for current details about UNICEF programmes in Turkey.

Iodised Salt logo © UNICEF Turkey 2003

Logo designed to emphasise iodised salt content and its benefits on packaging. The byline reads: For healthy and clever generations -- use iodised salt.


Iodine deficiency is the single most preventable cause of mental retardation in the world. Although little more than a teaspoonful of the trace element is required during the course of a lifetime, a deficiency from the earliest stages of conception can seriously damage mental and physical health, affecting growth and development.

Over 20 million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from some form of mental deficiency caused by IDD. IDD is a serious public health problem in Turkey: goitre, a common IDD, is endemic, reaching a general prevalence of around 30.5 %, and as much as 68.5 % in high-risk regions.

Although IDD cannot be eradicated, it is preventable. Since iodine cannot be stored in the body for long periods, tiny amounts must be consumed regularly. Therefore it is essential to ensure that iodine is present in the food chain through the iodisation of table salt.

Salt iodisation has proven to be the most successful solution because table salt is universally consumed on a regular basis. The addition of iodine does not affect the taste or smell of the product and iodisation is sustainable and cheap at 5¢ a year per head.

The Salt Iodisation Project aims to address the problem by:

  • eliminating IDD in school children by 2005;
  • ensuring that all salt produced and consumed in Turkey is properly iodised (that iodine content is preserved until consumption).

This will be achieved through:

  • advocacy for stronger legislation in favour of compulsory iodisation;
  • appropriate training and information for public bodies and table salt manufacturers;
  • quality control and monitoring of iodine content;
  • improving information available on IDD;
  • promoting the benefits of iodised salt consumption.

Visit WHO website and read about eliminating the problem of IDD.

For more about salt iodisation, read Add a Little Salt in the Autumn 2002 issue of UNICEF Turkey’s newsletter.

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