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First Nationwide Folic Acid Survey of Spanish-Speaking Women Finds Most Are Missing Benefits, March of Dimes Says
Date:1/5/2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Only 17 percent of Spanish-speaking women of childbearing age in the United States are taking a multivitamin containing folic acid daily, according to the first nationally representative folic acid awareness survey to focus on this population.

Folic acid can prevent neural tube defects (NTDs), serious birth defects of the brain and spine such as spina bifida and anencephaly, which are more prevalent in the Hispanic population than other racial or ethnic groups. Hispanics are the largest and the fastest growing racial and ethnic group in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and they account for more than 23 percent of all births in this country.

Folic Acid Awareness Week is January 5-11, a time when the March of Dimes and other members of the National Council on Folic Acid work to raise awareness of the benefits of this essential B vitamin. Daily consumption of folic acid beginning before and continuing through pregnancy is crucial because NTDs can occur in the early weeks following conception, often before a woman knows she is pregnant.

Two separate surveys by the March of Dimes of women's awareness of folic acid and its benefits are being released today. "Improving Preconception Health: Knowledge and Use of Vitamins and Folic Acid Among Spanish-language-dominant Hispanic Women" was conducted by International Communications Research. They questioned 1,250 women of childbearing age and was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Improving Preconception Health: Women's Knowledge and Use of Folic Acid," which surveyed more than 2,000 women of all races and ethnicities, was conducted by Gallup and also was funded by the CDC.

"More than half of all pregnancies are unplanned, which is why it's so important that all women of childbearing age take a multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms of
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SOURCE March of Dimes Foundation
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