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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

folic acid beginning before and continuing through pregnancy," said Joann Petrini, Ph.D., MPH, director of the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center.

Hispanic women and young women (ages 18 to 24) are among the least likely groups in the U.S. to take the recommended amount of folic acid that could lower their babies' risk of developing NTDs.

The March of Dimes survey of women of all races found that nearly 40 percent of U.S. women of childbearing age (ages 18-45), say they take a daily multivitamin supplement containing folic acid. However, the rate drops to 27 percent among women 18 to 24 years old. Only 11 percent of women of childbearing age said they knew that folic acid should be consumed prior to pregnancy.

The March of Dimes has led efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of folic acid since 1992, when the U.S. Public Health Service began recommending that all women capable of becoming pregnant consume folic acid beginning before pregnancy to prevent NTDs.

Also, since 2004, March of Dimes chapters have awarded more than $1.5 million in community grants and awards to support folic acid education, and have reached more than 4.5 million consumers and health care professionals with folic acid education and materials.

For example, March of Dimes chapters in North Carolina and Florida offer success stories. In North Carolina, there was an 80 percent decline in the number of NTDs between 1995 and 2005, and in Florida, more than 80 percent of women of childbearing age report taking a vitamin containing folic acid before pregnancy.

Since the U.S. Food & Drug Administration began requiring in 1998 that all enriched grains be fortified with folic acid, NTDs in the U.S. have declined by 26 percent.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. Its mission is to improve the health of babies by preventi
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SOURCE March of Dimes Foundation
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