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The present study aimed to evaluate the effect of mandatory iodine fortification of bread on the iodine status of South Australian populations using newborn thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration as a marker.
The study used an interrupted time-series design.
TSH data collected between 2005 and 2016 (n 211 033) were extracted from the routine newborn screening programme in South Australia for analysis. Iodine deficiency is indicated when more than 3 % of newborns have TSH > 5 mIU/l.
Newborns were classified into three groups: the pre-fortification group (those born before October 2009); the transition group (born between October 2009 and June 2010); and the post-fortification group (born after June 2010).
The percentage of newborns with TSH > 5 mIU/l was 5·1, 6·2 and 4·6 % in the pre-fortification, transition and post-fortification groups, respectively. Based on a segmented regression model, newborns in the post-fortification period had a 10 % lower risk of having TSH > 5 mIU/l than newborns in the pre-fortification group (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0·90; 95 % CI 0·87, 0·94), while newborns in the transitional period had a 22 % higher risk of having TSH > 5 mIU/l compared with newborns in the pre-fortification period (IRR = 1·22; 95 % CI 1·13, 1·31).
Using TSH as a marker, South Australia would be classified as mild iodine deficiency post-fortification in contrast to iodine sufficiency using median urinary iodine concentration as a population marker. Re-evaluation of the current TSH criteria to define iodine status in populations is warranted in this context.
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