Iodine deficiency disorder remains high in Central Visayas
IODINE deficiency disorder (IDD) remains a major concern in Central Visayas since only 2.7 percent of households in the region have attained adequate iodine salt consumption, according to a 2013 report.
Dr. Parolita A. Mission, regional nutrition program coordinator of the National Nutrition Council in Region 7 (NCC-7), considered this figure as quite low.
As NNC-7 celebrates the 23rd anniversary of the passage of Republic Act 8172 or the Asin Law, Mission noted the need for renewed efforts to promote awareness of the importance of using iodized salt, which is the most effective way to integrate iodine in the diet.
The NNC promotes the use of iodized salt as a way to counter IDD, which has been identified as a leading cause of brain damage, reduced IQ among children, enlargement of the thyroid or goiter, and hypothyroidism.
During pregnancy, the IDD could result in still birth, miscarriage and low birth weight that could lead to stunting.
Ligaya Moneva, health education and promotion officer III of the Department of Health-Center for Health Development, noted that iodine consumption in the household level was adequate during the first five years after the Asin Law was passed in 1995.
According to Mission, the region had achieved the ideal 15 parts per million (ppm) level of iodized salt consumption until the year 2000.
Moneva noted that complacency might have set in, so there was less monitoring being done to sustain the achieved level.
Recognizing the need to create awareness about the importance of the use of iodized salt, she said they saw the need to revive the Regional Bantay Asin Task Force (RBATF-7).
Organized on May 3, 2013, the task force was tasked to ensure the availability of iodized salt produced and distributed in the region.
Also, the task force has to promote good nutrition through the use of iodized salt, as well as monitor the implementation of the Asin Law.
The task force is composed of government agencies such as the Philippine Ports Authority, Bureau of Customs, Food and Drug Administration, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Philippine National Police to address the supply side.
The task force also include the salt producing and importing companies such as Bohol Lirio Trading Corporation, Arvin International Marketing Inc. and Salinas Foods Inc.
On the demand side, the task force members include the Department of Health, the NNC, the Department of Education, Philippine Information Agency and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Another concern is the presence of imported iodized salt not meant for human consumption but are sold in retail stores and supermarkets.
Mission said they believed that some companies import iodized salt for animal consumption or industrial purposes but some unscrupulous businessmen found a way to sell these in the market.
Mission urged consumers to buy only the iodized salt products with a seal bearing the words “Saktong Iodine sa Asin” to ensure that the salt is compliant with the required 15 ppm iodine content.
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