One of the country's major nutritional challenge is iodine deficiency, with millions of Filipinos still affected by disorders related to iodine intake. One step towards addressing this health issue is by urging the public to exclusively use iodized salt.

Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormone, but is not produced by the body, making it an important part of diet.

In 2013, the National Nutrition Survey found that 5.8 million Filipinos have thyroid disorders that manifest as goiter, thyroid malignancy, mental deficiency, physical deformities, congenital hypothyroidism and even death for some.

Goiter, in particular, is the enlargement of the thyroid gland is due to inadequate iodine intake, which can also be caused by other disorders such as autoimmune disease, inflammation and other medical condition. It is common among Filipinos.

“Iodine deficiency disorders are recognized as among our country’s major nutrition challenges that must be addressed by a comprehensive programme direction through the development of a national policy,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during this year’s observation of the Goiter Awareness Week. 

DOH continued its advocacy of continued use of iodized salt from last year’s theme, Goiter Sugpuin, Isip Patalinuhim, Iodized Salt Gamitin.

The special health week is designated by a Presidential Proclamation No. 1188 signed in 2006 to raise awareness about iodine deficiency. About 40 percent of the world’s population is at risk for such deficiency.

The DOH and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been jointly undertaking measures to ensure that the public will have access to only iodized salt.

“I therefore encourage every Filipino household to use iodized salt exclusively as it is a simple and practical way of getting sufficient iodine from their diets to prevent goiter and other thyroid disorders,” the Health chief reminded Filipinos.

Other than salt, other sources of iodine include dairy products, seafood, meat, eggs and multivitamins which contain iodine. MIMS