World Iodine Deficiency Day is earmarked on October 21 each year, to highlight the importance of iodine in the daily diet regimen, a vital mineral that plays a key role in proper thyroid gland function, brain development and overall well-being. This health event is also known as Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day, which focuses on bringing out the need for iodine for the normal growth and development of human beings and effectively prevent problems evolving due to iodine deficiency and treat all other related disorders.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) is one of the most prevalent causative factors of brain damage across the globe. It can develop before the birth of a child and endangering a child’s survival, as iodine deficiency in pregnant women can lead to stillbirth, congenital abnormalities, poor intellectual development, and mental problems.
World Iodine Deficieny Day - October 21

As per the statistics based on its Global Database on Iodine Deficiency, states that many nations have successfully overcome IDD with extensive usage of iodized salt, however, 54 countries are still deficient. Universal salt iodisation program is a global strategy for IDD that was initiated in 1993 and it has remarkably supported most countries to make improvements in defeating this endemic health condition.

 (Source: WHO)

Prevalence Of Iodine Deficiency In India

A study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR), revealed that the whole populace of India is at high risk of IDD due to lack of mineral iodine in the soil. This results in a spectrum of grains, lentils, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and other produce cultivated in India to be deficient in iodine. No matter, what type of diet a person consumes, the total amount of iodine in it is remarkably low and necessitate the supplementation of salt fortified with iodine.

Statistics revealed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) disclosed that around 350 million people in India do not consume adequate amounts of iodized salt, thereby making them at a high  risk of developing  IDD.

The latest survey conducted by Nutrition International, the All-India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and the Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders (ICCIDD) stated that the percentage of Indian households that consumed adequate quantity of iodized salt in the diet has increased to 82.1% in 2018-2019. Furthermore, the analysis also revealed that the awareness about usage of iodised salt was higher in urban areas than rural areas and electronic mass media campaigns played a key role in spreading the awareness.

Also Read: World Iodine Deficiency Day: 5 Foods Plentiful In Iodine To Fight Thyroid And Other Disorders - Infographic

Effects Of Iodine Deficiency

The alarming reports emphasise the need for extensive awareness programs and the use of iodised salt remains a vital strategy for the healthcare system. Moreover, during World Iodine Deficiency Day, several campaigns are conducted by both government and non-government organizations to highlight the importance of consuming iodized salt and educate the people about the negative impacts of IDD.

Some of the grave effects of IDD include:


As per reports around 90% of goitre, cases are caused due to iodine deficiency across the world. Iodine deficiency lowers the production of essential thyroid hormones, which leads to inflammation and enlargement of the thyroid gland.


Iodine deficiency is one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism. As the iodine levels drop in the body, it greatly impairs the production of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream, this results in a slower metabolism, weight gain, extreme fatigue and unable to tolerate cold temperatures.

Also Read: Hypothyroidism Diet: Here’s Is What You Should Eat And Avoid To Manage This Disorder


Cretinism is categorised by severe under activity of the thyroid gland at birth, mainly caused due to deficiency of iodine during pregnancy and foetal development. It is also known as congenital hypothyroidism, which results in growth retardation, delayed development, and defects in children.

High Infant Death Rate:

Iodine is an essential mineral for the synthesis of maternal and foetal thyroid hormones. These hormones hold a significant role in regulating the growth and development of the foetus. If pregnant women are severely deficient in iodine, then the survival of the foetus may be endangered, and it could also result in an increased risk of congenital defects.

Mental Retardation:

Iodine deficiency causes irreversible brain damage which can ultimately lead to irreversible mental retardation, especially in children. This can cause serious intellectual disability, social isolation, and mental health problems over a period.