Brighter futures: Protecting early brain development through salt iodization

The UNICEF-GAIN Partnership Project <br> The report notes that iodine deficiency is a leading cause of preventable brain damage worldwide. Insufficient iodine during pregnancy and infancy results in neurological and psychological deficits, reducing a child’s IQ by 8 to 10 points. This translates into major losses in the cognitive capital of entire nations and thus their socio-economic development.<br> The report outlines urgent steps to reduce the risk of mental impairment to babies’ growing brains:<br> • Integrate salt iodization into national plans to support children’s nutrition and brain development in early childhood; <br> • Align salt iodization and salt reduction agendas; • Establish surveillance systems to identify unreached populations; <br> • Strengthen regulatory systems to enforce existing legislation on salt iodization; <br> • Recognize the growing importance of fortified foods as potential sources of iodized salt.