Knowledge of iodoprophylaxis and iodized salt consumption among medical students in Italy

Clin Ter. 2011;162(5):409-11.

Knowledge of iodoprophylaxis and iodized salt consumption among medical students in Italy.




Iodine deficiency is still a notable health-care problem in several regions of Europe and can be responsible for maternal and fetal goiter, miscarriages, stillbirths, reduced fetal growth, congenital hypothyroidisms, damaged reproduction in adult life, and inadequate development and maturation of the fetal brain, which is the major preventable cause of mental defects. The aim of this study was to assess the medical students' knowledge and practices regarding the program of iodized-salt-use and active iodine prophylaxis program launched by the Italian Ministry of Health.


A self-administered, anonymous, 19 single-item questionnaire was developed. We have collected 294 filled forms: 86 from first-year, 118 from fourth-year and 90 from sixth-year medical students at the First Medical School of 'Sapienza' University of Rome, Italy, in May 2009.


Two hundred eighty four students (96.6%) affirm that they know of the existence iodized salt, even though only 199 (67.7%) report personal consumption. This level is quite far from the target (consumption by almost 80% of the general population) suggested by the international literature. No statistically relevant difference was observed between the answers of male and female students.


Our study proves that clinical students have a more detailed knowledge on iodized salt if compared with pre-clinical students, but such knowledge remains overall defective and in some cases absolutely incorrect. Additional education is probably needed to prepare physicians to play a critical role in counseling about iodine prophylaxis.

PMID: 22041794 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]