Iodine deficiency and nutrition in Scandinavia

Minerva Med. 2017 Apr;108(2):147-158. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4806.16.04849-7. Epub 2016 Dec 20.


Iodine nutrition is a result of geological conditions, iodine fortification and monitoring strategies within a country together with the dietary habits of the population. This review summarizes the basis for the current iodine situation in the Scandinavian countries in order to identify gaps in knowledge, determine necessary future steps, highlight landmarks in Scandinavian iodine research and consider ongoing studies in Scandinavian countries with high international impact. Historically, iodine deficiency disorders such as goiter were common in Norway and Sweden, but not in Denmark. Different strategies have been used in Scandinavia to improve iodine nutrition. The major source of iodine is iodized salt in Sweden and from milk and dairy products in Norway. In Denmark, drinking water, milk, dairy products and iodized salt used in commercial production of bread are the important sources of iodine. The current iodine status in Scandinavia is not optimal and action is ongoing to increase iodination in Denmark, where there is mild iodine deficiency in the general population. Data from all three countries indicate insufficient iodine nutrition during pregnancy and there is a need for data from children, adolescents and young women. Monitoring a population's iodine status and dietary iodine sources is necessary to secure iodine nutrition in Scandinavia. Ongoing studies in Scandinavia will contribute significantly to the knowledge about the effects of mild to moderate iodine deficiency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Geography, Medical
  • Goiter, Endemic / epidemiology
  • Goiter, Endemic / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Iodine / administration & dosage*
  • Iodine / deficiency*
  • Iodine / urine
  • Male
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Factors
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Trace Elements / administration & dosage*
  • Trace Elements / deficiency*
  • Trace Elements / urine


  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Trace Elements
  • iodized salt
  • Iodine