- 3 updates
Adjusting the results for external factors likely to affect these scores, such as parental education and breast-feeding, researchers found children of women in the iodine-deficient group were significantly more likely to have low scores of verbal IQ, reading accuracy and reading comprehension.
The lower the mother's concentration of iodine, the lower were the average scores for IQ and reading ability in the children.
The lead researcher in a report which suggests pregnant women and those planning to have children should nurture their iodine intake said iodine deficiency can pose a "risk" to infants.
Women planning to have children and those who are already pregnant should ensure adequate iodine intake, authors of a new report have said.
The study found that a lack of iodine, found in milk, dairy products and fish, can lead to reduced mental development in their children.
It is essential for producing the hormones made by the thyroid gland, which have a direct effect on foetal brain development, it said.
A group of researchers from Surrey and Bristol universities undertook a long-term health research project in which more than 14,000 mothers enrolled during pregnancy in 1991 and 1992, and the health and development of their children has been followed in detail since.