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Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day – October 21, 2023

Global Iodine Deficiency Prevention Day is observed every October 21. The day raises public awareness of the critical function iodine plays in human health. Iodine is a micronutrient that is required for appropriate thyroid function, as well as for healthy growth and development.

History of Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day

Early Chinese medical texts, dating back to roughly 3600 B.C., were the first to document the reduction in goiter size following consumption of seaweed and burnt sea sponge, according to historical records. Even though iodine had not yet been found, these medicines remained successful, and their use persisted throughout the world, as attested in works by Hippocrates, Galen, and Roger in later centuries.

The discovery of iodine happened by chance during the first half of the nineteenth century. While extracting sodium salts for use in the production of gunpowder in 1811, Bernard Courtois, a French chemist, noticed an unusual purple vapor rising from seaweed ash treated with sulphuric acid. Gaspard Adolphe Chatin, a French chemist, was the first to publish the notion of population iodine deficit as a cause of endemic goiter, which was initially proposed in 1852. This was confirmed by Eugen Baumann, who in 1896 published a paper describing the discovery of iodine within the thyroid gland.

A goal to eliminate iodine deficiency by the year 2000 was set by world leaders during the 1990 World Summit for Children. As a result of this, countries such as India and China established their own National Days for the Prevention of Iodine Deficiency Disorders. Countries from all across the world have also thrown their support behind this initiative and found ways to ensure their citizens get enough iodine.

Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day timeline

1811
Discovery of Iodine

It was while Bernard Courtois of France was extracting sodium salts for the manufacturing of gunpowder, he noticed an unusual purple cloud coming out of seaweed ash heated with sulfuric acid.

1852
Goiter is Linked to Iodine Deficiency

Gaspard Adolphe Chatin, a French chemist, publishes a hypothesis of population iodine deficiency associated with endemic goiter.

1896
Iodine’s Connection to Goiter

Eugen Baumann confirms the discovery of iodine within the thyroid gland.

1924
Iodized Salt

Researchers realize that iodized salt is key to people consuming iodine and begin the commercialization of iodized salt.

1980s
WHO Against Iodine Deficiency

The World Health Organization takes steps to reduce the deficiency of iodine around the world.

1993
Intervention Technique

The adoption of the use of universal salt iodization as a major intervention technique for controlling Iodine Deficiency Disorders.

Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day FAQs

How can iodine deficiency be prevented?

Food and water supplies at a community level can be made to contain iodine to avoid iodine deficiency disorder. Salt iodization is a common method for achieving this. Alternatives in underdeveloped countries are periodic injections of iodized oil supplements.

Why is salt iodized?

This is because it is one of the most cost-effective, time-tested, and reliable ways to ensure adequate iodine intake which is through salt fortification.

What foods should iodine deficient people avoid?

People who are taking supplements or who are predisposed to iodine deficiency should avoid or limit their consumption of soy products, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard greens, and turnips because these foods contain thiocyanates, which interfere with the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb iodine.

How to Observe Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day

  1. Learn more about iodine

    Iodine is important for everyone. On this day, you can take time out to learn more about its importance and educate everyone about it.

  2. Get your thyroid checked

    Book an appointment to check your thyroid levels. This is especially important if you are experiencing any symptoms related to low iodine levels.

  3. Donate

    If you can, donate to some of the organizations fighting against iodine deficiency. You can also encourage other people to do so via social media.

5 Surprising Facts About Iodine

  1. Number of people affected

    One-third of the world's population suffers from an iodine shortage, with over two billion individuals globally suffering from this insufficiency.

  2. Sources of iodine

    There are several sources of iodine in fish, including cod and tuna; shrimp and seaweed; and dairy products.

  3. Iodized salt

    Iodized salt is one of the best sources of incorporating iodine into your diet.

  4. Iodine intake

    Iodine intake for adults should be 150 mcg, while for pregnant women it should be 220 mcg.

  5. Affected regions

    Iodine insufficiency is more prevalent in the Western Pacific, Southeast Asia, and Africa than everywhere else in the world.

Why Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day is Important

  1. It prevents iodine—related complications in children

    It can begin even before a child is born, putting children’s mental and physical health at risk, and in some cases, their lives. Iodine shortage during pregnancy can lead to stillbirths, spontaneous abortions, and congenital abnormalities including cretinism, some of which are extremely dangerous.

  2. It keeps people informed

    Lack of iodine can cause several health problems such as goiter; visual, auditory, and phonological impairments; Hypothyroidism; neuromuscular impairment; intrauterine death, and so on. Adequate knowledge of the importance and impact of iodine can go a long way in preventing complications related to lack of iodine.

  3. Benefits of iodine

    It is important to note that thyroid hormones affect every cell in the human body, as well as the development of cells. Other functions of thyroid hormones include regulating bone growth, aiding in brain development, and increasing metabolic rate.

Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day dates

YearDateDay
2023October 21Saturday
2024October 21Monday
2025October 21Tuesday
2026October 21Wednesday
2027October 21Thursday

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