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BACKGROUND: The distribution of goiter among children and its risk factors are not well investigated in Ethiopia. Therefore, this systematic review and meta-analysis was designed to determine the pooled prevalence of goiter and its associated factors among children in Ethiopia.

METHODS: Electronic web-based searches of PubMed, Google Scholar, EMBASE, and the World Health Organization's Hinari portal (which includes the SCOPUS, African Index Medicus, and African Journals Online databases) were conducted to find primary studies. Relevant data were extracted and descriptive summaries of the studies were presented in tables. The I

RESULTS: Our search identified 982 studies, of which, 19 articles were eligible for inclusion in the final meta-analysis. The pooled estimate of goiter among children in Ethiopia was 40.50% (95% CI: 33.6-47.40). The regional distribution of goiter ranged from 44.22 (95% CI: 17.44-71) in Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples' Region, to 32.79% (95% CI: 19.86-45.73) in Benishangul Gumez region. The prevalence of goiter among female children (44.34%) was higher than among male (32.88%) children. Goiter prevalence was also significantly higher among children who consumed vegetables three or more times per week OR = 1.3 (95% CI: 1.02-1.66); those who had family history of goiter, OR = 2.38 (95% CI: 1.9-2.99); and those whose family stored salt near to fires, OR = 1.4 l (95% CI: 1.1-1.79).

CONCLUSION: The prevalence of goiter among children in Ethiopia was high, and endemic according to the WHO criteria. Our findings suggest the need for interventions to improve salt iodization, and for improved health education on appropriate salt storage. In addition, more research may be needed to improve our understanding of foods that increase the risk of goiter among children.

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Originally published in BMC Public Health, 19, [Article 1191]. The original material can be found here.

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