Iodine is a natural ingredient that is necessary for human nutrition. Inadequate supply of iodine can cause a health condition called iodine deficiency disorder; a disease that can cause mental abnormalities and which, usually affects pregnant women and younger children.
In 1990, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution urging member states to take appropriate actions towards reducing iodine deficiency disorders. As a result, commemoration of Iodine Deficiency Disorder Day aims to promote joint initiatives, support and communication with health authorities to reduce the spread of iodine deficiency disorder and to educate the public about the disease.
According to the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) Global Network. globally about 30% of the world's population live in areas with iodine deficiency and its complications. Iodine deficiency decreases child survival, causes goiter and impairs growth and development. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women causes miscarriages, low birth weight and other complications. Children may grow up stunted and with lower IQ. Because of its profound health effects, iodine defiency is a brake to the social and economic development of many countries.
Iodizing salt can eliminate iodine deficiency. It is effective and costs only pennies per person per year. Iodized salt is safe for infants, children and pregnant women.