Endemic goiter i s still an important and underestimated health concern in Turkey. The overall prevalence was calculated as 30.3 % by palpation in a national survey conducted in 1995. However direct evidence that iodine deficiency (ID) is the major cause of the endemics has been lacking until now. We measured sonographic thyroid volumes (STV), urinary iodine concentrations (UIC), in 1226 SAC (9-11 years old) from Ankara and three highly endemic goiter areas of the Black-Sea region (i.e. Kastamonu, Bayburt, Trabzon). A considerable number of SAC were found to have STV exceeding the recommended upper normal limits for their age and gender obtained from iodine-replete European children. i.e 26.7 %, 40.3 %, 44.8 % and, 51.7 % of children from Ankara, Kastamonu, Bayburt and Trabzon respectively. UIC indicated moderate to severe ID in these areas with median concentrations of 25.5 g/l, 30.5 g/l, 16.0 g/l and 14 g/l respectively. This study showed severe to moderate ID as the primary etiological factor for the goiter endemics observed in Ankara and the Black-Sea region of Turkey.
Keywords: Endemic goiter, iodine deficiency