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Deficiency in South Asia
crucial to normal development of the brain and central nervous system in the
developing fetus. However, this has not been realized by all.
effect of iodine deficiency has long been obvious in most south Asian
Countries. The mountains and plains of Bhutan, Nepal and northern India are
known in medical circles as the goiter belt. The soil and water are so lacking
in natural iodine that even goats develop goiters, the enlargement of the
thyroid gland that is the body's adaptation to deficiency. In some mountain
cultures, people with small necklines were once regarded as oddities.
rural people in south Asia live with goiters, causing grotesque disfigurement.
Much less common but far more tragic is cretinism, the severe mental
retardation often in combination with stunted growth, deaf and muteness. This
sometimes results when pregnant women are extremely deficient in iodine.
In many rural
areas of south Asia, the percentage of uneducated people is high. This is why
they do not know the importance of iodine. However, there being usually a
shortage of iodized salt, people are unable to consume as much as it is needed.
Consequently, more babies suffer from insidious physical and mental handicaps.
deficiency disease is not confined to only one country in south Asia. It is a
problem in all countries of this region. This is why it will be fruitful if
they cooperate to eradicate this problem.