Kiwanis of Lufkin, TX

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Iodine Deficiency Disorders - IDD

Kiwanis International has a Worldwide Service Project to eliminate iodine deficiency disorders (IDD). Kiwanis is working with Morton Salt to get iodized salt to areas, which have too little iodine available. It is said that all it takes is a teaspoon of the nutrient iodine, consumed over a lifetime, to remain free of IDD. Disorders from lack of iodine are Goiter, Cretinism and irreversible brain damage.

The numbers and facts quoted herein are taken from a web page, www.idrc.ca/mi/idddocs/iddindex.htm that is maintained by the Micronutrient Initiative in conjunction with the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders. According to this information published in 1996, there is an estimated 1,571 million people in 118 countries worldwide living in iodine deficient environments. 20 million of these are believed to be significantly mentally handicapped.

It is estimated that 655 million people suffer from goiter (thyroid enlargement), 26 million with brain damage and 5.7 million with cretinism. Myxedema goiter results from an underactive thyroid gland. When myxedema develops in adults, it causes slowness of mind and body, thickness of speech, low metabolism, and thickening of the skin. Cretinism is the name of this condition in children. Dwarfism and idiocy are the chief characteristics of cretinism. The chief cause of these conditions is lack of iodine. This can be prevented by the use of iodized salt. Money collected by Kiwanis and other organizations is used to make iodized salt available in these areas of the world.

You wouldn't think of Switzerland as being one of these countries, but salt iodization was just started in Switzerland in 1992. Since that time both cretinism and goiter have been eliminated as a public health concern.

The daily intake of iodine should be between 50 and 1000 micrograms. The average intake of salt varies from country to country but is about 5 to 15 grams per day. The iodate content of the salt is adjusted to result in an intake of about 150 micrograms of iodine per day.

George F. Hixson Fellowship

The George F. Hixson Fellowship is one of the Kiwanis International Foundation's highest honors. Membership is given to individuals who donate $1,000 and demonstrate strong Kiwanis support.

The funds received for a Hixson Fellowship can be designated for one of two programs. The Kiwanis International Foundation Endowment or the Kiwanis International Worldwide Service Project/Iodine Deficiency Disorders. The interest on funds placed in the Endowment are used to award international grants. The funds designated for IDD go directly to the WSP and are used to eliminate IDD. An individual can become a sustaining Hixson by contributing an initial $100 and taking 10 years to pay the balance for an Endowment Hixson, or take 3 years for an IDD Hixson. The award is the same for both programs.

Frequently the club honors one of its members who have had outstanding achievements by raising the $1000 in the member's name.

Who was George F. Hixson ? He was the first Kiwanis International president. The George F. Hixson Fellowship was created in 1983, in his honor. George F. Hixson died March 10, 1967 but his name will live on forever, remembered by all those who are members of the George F. Hixson Fellowship.

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Original 11/4/99
Last updated 11/4/99
Page by F. Preston