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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2001 Mar 16;50(10):185-9.

Knowledge and use of folic acid among women of reproductive age--Michigan, 1998.


Neural tube defects (NTDs), which include spina bifida and anencephaly, are serious malformations that occur in the developing fetus during the first 17-30 days after conception. Consumption of supplements containing folic acid can reduce NTDs 50%-70%. In the United States, approximately 4000 pregnancies are affected by NTDs each year, including approximately 140 infants in Michigan. In 1992, the U.S. Public Health Service recommended that all women of childbearing age consume at least 400 microg of folic acid daily. In 1998, the Institute of Medicine reaffirmed that recommendation and added that women capable of becoming pregnant take 400 microg of synthetic folic acid daily from fortified foods and/or supplements and consume a balanced, healthy diet of folate-rich foods. This report summarizes findings from the 1998 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) about multivitamin use and folic acid knowledge among women of reproductive age in Michigan. The findings suggest that public health campaigns that promote the consumption of folic acid should target women who are young, unmarried, obese, smoke, eat few fruits and vegetables, and have a low level of education.

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