Seasonality in urinary and household salt iodine content among pregnant and lactating women of the plains of Nepal

K. J. Schulze, Jr P. West, L. A. Gautschi, M. L. Dreyfuss, S. C. LeClerq, B. R. Dahal, L. S.F. Wu, S. K. Khatry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the extent and causes of iodine deficiency among women during pregnancy and lactation in the southeastern plains of Nepal. Design, Setting and Subjects: Urinary iodine (UI) was assessed as an indicator of iodine status in spot urine samples of women participating in a field trial in three rural communities in the plains of southeastern Nepal. Samples were collected during pregnancy (n = 1021) and during lactation at 3-4 months postpartum (n = 1028) at a central clinic; 613 women were assessed at both times. Salt iodine (SI) content was assessed semiquantitatively at 6-7 months postpartum in households (n = 1572). Results: During pregnancy and lactation, median UI concentrations were 0.756 and 0.483 μmol/l, respectively, indicating mild iodine deficiency. UI and SI concentrations covaried markedly by season and were highest during hot, dry, premonsoon months and lowest during and following the humid monsoon season. Within women who contributed urine samples during both pregnancy and the postpartum period, iodine status determined by UI was not correlated. The percentage of households with adequately iodized salt (30 ppm) ranged from 85 to 44% from the hot, dry to the humid seasons, respectively. Conclusions: In the rural southern plains of Nepal, iodine deficiency remains a mild-to-moderate public health problem among pregnant and lactating women despite the availability of iodized salt. Marked seasonality in SI content may account for the lack of intraindividual correlation between maternal iodine status during pregnancy and postpartum periods and contribute to periodicity in the risk of iodine deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)969-976
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Iodine
  • Lactation
  • Nepal
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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