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November 28, 1990

The Story of Iodine Deficiency: An International Challenge in Nutrition

Author Affiliations

The University of Chicago (Ill) Pritzker School of Medicine

The University of Chicago (Ill) Pritzker School of Medicine


by Basil S. Hetzel, 236 pp, with illus, $35, ISBN 0-19-261669-2, New York, NY, Oxford University Press, 1989.

JAMA. 1990;264(20):2684. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450200092043

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This small, easily read volume is an excellent summary of previous studies on the health and socioeconomic impact of iodine deficiency and current worldwide attempts to eradicate this problem, which may adversely influence the lives of up to 800 million people worldwide.

Basil S. Hetzel, who has contributed so much himself to understanding the effects of iodine deficiency, especially on fetal development, first briefly surveys the growth of knowledge about iodine deficiency and cretinism in ancient literature and folk medicine, the first large-scale efforts at prophylaxis by Marine and Kimball in Akron, Ohio, in 1922, and more contemporary pioneering investigations on pathophysiology and prevention by Stanbury in Mendoza, Argentina, McCullagh in New Guinea, and Belgian workers in Zaire. Hetzel then reviews the methods that have been developed for correction of iodine deficiency, the current status of campaigns to provide adequate sources of iodine to the populations of China, Africa, Asia,