Objective: Most of the Polish territory has been classified as an iodine-deficient and endemic goiter area according to the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency (ICCIDD) criteria. In 1997 the obligatory model of iodine prophylaxis was implemented. Our investigations were aimed at the effectiveness of iodine prophylaxis in Poland.
Methods: We assessed urinary iodine excretion and goiter prevalence in 5663 children aged 6-12 yr. The population of children from the same 27 schools was investigated from 1992 to 1994 (1406 girls and 1244 boys) and from 1999 to 2005 (1563 girls and 1450 boys) using identical laboratory and ultrasound methods.
Results: We found significant increase in iodine urinary concentration (median 52 microg/l vs 93 microg/l, p<0.001) with accompanying drop in goiter prevalence (29.6% vs 5.2%, p<0.001) after implementation of iodine prophylaxis. Iodine excretion distribution changed significantly after 1997 with an increase in the percentage of children with iodine urinary concentration above 100 microg/l from 10.8% to 45.4%, respectively. A significantly higher iodine urinary concentration was observed in lowlands compared to uplands both before and after implementation of iodine prophylaxis (median, 50 microg/l vs 57 microg/l and 86 microg/l vs 114 microg/l, respectively, p<0.001). The goiter prevalence did not differ between girls and boys from 1992 to 1994 (28.8% vs 30.5%, p=0.35) and 1999 to 2005 (5.5% vs 4.9%, p=0.45).
Conclusions: Implementation of the new model of iodine prophylaxis in Poland in 1997 has led to significant increase in iodine urinary concentration and decrease in goiter prevalence among Polish schoolchildren. In the youngest group of children (6-8 yr olds), prevalence of goiter decreased to 3.2%--i.e. below endemic levels.