Reduction of salt: will iodine intake remain adequate in The Netherlands?

Br J Nutr. 2010 Dec;104(11):1712-8. doi: 10.1017/S0007114510002722. Epub 2010 Jul 19.


Salt is the main vehicle for iodine fortification in The Netherlands. A reduction in salt intake may reduce the supply of iodine. Our aim was to quantify the effect of salt reduction on the habitual iodine intake of the Dutch population and the risk of inadequate iodine intake. We used data of the Dutch National Food Consumption Survey (1997-8) and an update of the food composition database to estimate habitual salt and iodine intake. To take into account uncertainty about the use of iodised salt (industrial and discretionary) and food supplements, a simulation model was used. Habitual iodine and salt intakes were simulated for scenarios of salt reduction and compared with no salt reduction. With 12, 25 and 50 % salt reduction in industrially processed foods, the iodine intake remained adequate for a large part of the Dutch population. For the extreme scenario of a 50 % reduction in both industrially and discretionary added salt, iodine intake might become inadequate for part of the Dutch population (up to 10 %). An increment of the proportion of industrially processed foods using iodised salt or a small increase in iodine salt content will solve this. Nevertheless, 8-35 % of 1- to 3-year-old children might have iodine intakes below the corresponding estimated average requirement (EAR), depending on the salt intake scenario. This points out the need to review the EAR value for this age group or to suggest the addition of iodine to industrially manufactured complementary foods.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Deficiency Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Food Handling
  • Food Industry
  • Food, Fortified
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Iodine / deficiency*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Netherlands
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Young Adult


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Iodine