IODINE AND NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN OKPUJE, NSUKKA LGA, ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA ()
This study was designed to assess iodine and nutritional status of primary school children in a rural community, Okpuje, using recommended quantifiable indicators. A total of 395 school children, 6-12 years (204 males and 191 females) were selected through a multi-stage sampling procedure. Structured questionnaire was used to obtain information on socioeconomic status (name, age, class, sex, parents occupation and household size). Dietary information was obtained using 24hour dietary recall and food frequency questionnaire. Heights and weights of the children were measured using approved methods. Age was assessed using school records.
The WHO Z score system was used to classify stunting, wasting and underweight among the children. Goiter was assessed clinically by a trained nurse using the standard palpation method. Salt samples were collected from Okpuje market and the children were asked to bring salts (10g) from their mother’s kitchen to test for iodine content. Urinary iodine excretion (UIE) levels of 20% sub-sample study subjects, selected through simple random sampling by balloting without replacement, were analyzed using the Sandell-Koltholf reaction to determine the urinary levels of iodine. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square analysis. Results showed that children were from predominantly farming communities and consumed monotonous diets.
Twenty four hour dietary recall revealed that majority of the children ate 3 times a day and consumed cereals and cassava based diets for breakfast, lunch and supper. No child was found with goiter. The prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight were 19.5%, 8.9% and 8.5%, respectively. Wasting was more in male children than in female children. Underweight and stunting were more in females than males. Stunting and wasting was more in older children (10-12 years) while underweight was more in younger children (6-9years). The mean UIE was 124.7mcg/l. About 96% of the children had UIE value consistent with adequate intake (UIE > 100mcg/l). A total of 3.8% of the children had UIE less than 100mcg/l. Iodine content of 395 salt samples from home, tested with spot testing kit revealed that 94.2% had iodine greater than 15ppm and 5.8% had iodine less than 15ppm. No salt sample was found without iodine. The entire salt sample collected from the market had iodine greater than 15ppm. The mean urinary excretion of 124.7mcg/l obtained in this study suggests no biochemical iodine deficiency in majority of the respondents and indicates that Okpuje in Nsukka LGA is in the transition phase of iodine deficiency to iodine sufficiency.