17 Nov 2010

Further iodine screening being considered

9:00 am on 17 November 2010

Health officials say they may consider whether to screen newborns for iodine deficiency in the wake of a recent Australian study indicating that levels of the trace element in the population are low and may have worsened.

A study in Victoria between 2001 - 2006 found that seven percent of newborns were deficient in iodine, which is needed for brain and general development of children.

New Zealanders are considered to be mildly deficient in iodine and it was added to some breads in September last year to help reverse the trend.

It was also funded as a supplement for pregnant women.

Studies are now underway to determine what effect that has had and to monitor iodine levels in children.