Evaluation of Goitre and its Sociodemographic Risk Factors among Rural School Children of Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Dr. Gopalakrishnan S,
Head and Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Sree Balaji Medical College and Hospital, Bharath University,
Chennai-600044, Tamil Nadu, India.
Introduction: Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDDs) are one of the most important disorders of childhood affecting the brain development. It is marked by a diffuse enlargement of the thyroid gland, known as goiter. A district is said to be endemic for goiter when its prevalence is >10% in the general population. Despite several national policies to rectify the problem, goiter seems to continue to persist as a major public health problem.
Aim: This study was done to evaluate the prevalence of clinical goiter among school going children and their salt consumption pattern.
Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out among 670 school students between 6-14 years of age studying in rural schools of Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India. The students were selected from five schools. The sampling method used was Probability Proportional to Size (PPS). A pretested structured interview schedule was used to collect information regarding the sociodemographic factors. Clinical examination was carried out and salt samples were procured for testing the iodine levels. Data collected was analysed using SPSS version 17.0.
Results: In present study, 388 (57.9%) were males and 282 (42.1%) were females and belonged to the age group of 6-14 years. The overall prevalence of goiter was 6.6%. About 43.5% of the participants consumed salt procured from petty shops. In 46.6% of the samples, the level of iodisation was between 7 to 14.99 ppm. It was observed that age, socioeconomic status, family history of goiter and iodisation levels <15 ppm were significant risk factors for goiter (p<0.0001).
Conclusion: This study shows that goiter still continues to be a major public health problem in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India. The public health authorities should ensure public awareness about the effects of IDDs and the need to consume adequately iodised salt. The availability of adequate and regular supply of iodised salt should be ensured.