The reliability of an estimate of iodine intake is largely dependent on the quality of the food composition data. We aimed to assess the impact of variations in food composition data for iodine and season on the estimates of iodine intake in young children.
Cross-sectional dietary intake study of Irish 2-year-olds participating in the Cork BASELINE Birth Cohort Study (n=468; 30% of the cohort at the 2-year follow-up) were used to assess the impact of variation in iodine food composition data on estimates of iodine intake, dietary adequacy and risk of exceeding the tolerable upper intake level (UL).
Mean (SD) iodine intakes calculated using UK (147 (71)) and Irish (177 (93)) food composition data were significantly different (P¿<¿0.001) (mean difference (95% confidence interval)¿=¿30 (26-33) µg/day) and largely adequate (7-14% below the estimated average requirement). Intakes at the 95th percentile were 138% and 173% of the UL using UK and Irish food composition data, respectively, of which milk accounted for 106% and 150% of the UL. This translated into 22% and 35% of toddlers exceeding the UL, using UK and Irish composition data, respectively. The mean (SD) daily intake of cow's milk among the 91% of consumers was 309 (208) ml. Intakes of cow's milk at the 75th and 95th percentiles were 452 and 706¿ml, respectively. Using Irish composition data for iodine in cows' milk, a daily intake of 450¿ml could result in a toddler exceeding the UL from milk alone.
Variability in food composition has a large impact on assessments of iodine intake, particularly among young children for whom milk contributes a large proportion of their daily nutrient intake. Although this is unlikely to result in long-term adverse effects, our study highlights the need for development of valid biomarkers of individual iodine status.