Agreement between markers of population iodine status in classifying iodine status of populations: A systematic review

Molla Mesele Wassie, Philippa Middleton, Shao Jia Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Population iodine deficiency is indicated by >3% of the population with newborn thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration >5 mIU/L, median urinary iodine concentration (MUIC) <100 μg/L, or >5% prevalence of goiter in school-age children. However, the agreement between these population markers has not been systematically investigated. Objective: To assess the agreement between TSH, MUIC, and goiter as markers of population iodine status. Methods: We performed a systematic search for studies published on PubMed, Scopus, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Embase, and PsycINFO up to 29 October, 2018. Studies assessing iodine status in the population using the TSH marker and either MUIC or goiter prevalence in school-age children were included. The agreement between markers in classifying iodine status of the population was assessed. The sensitivity and specificity of the TSH marker was determined against MUIC and goiter prevalence as the reference markers. Results: Of 17,435 records identified by the search strategy, 57 eligible studies were included in the review. The agreement between markers in classifying the iodine status of populations into the same category was 65% for TSH and MUIC, and 83% for TSH and goiter prevalence. The TSH marker had a sensitivity of 0.75 and specificity of 0.53 when compared with MUIC, and 0.86 and 0.50 when compared with goiter prevalence. Conclusions: The TSH marker has a better agreement with goiter prevalence than MUIC when classifying the iodine status of populations. Re-evaluation of the current criteria for classifying the iodine status of populations using the TSH marker is warranted. This systematic review was registered at PROSPERO ( as CRD42018091247.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-958
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • goiter
  • iodine deficiency
  • iodine status
  • thyroid-stimulating hormone concentration
  • urinary iodine concentration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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