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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Sep;59(9):1064-70.

High prevalence of folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiencies in infants, children, adolescents and pregnant women in Venezuela.

Author information

  • 1Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC), Carretera Panamericana, Centro de Medicina Experimental, Laboratorio de Fisiopatología, Caracas, Venezuela. mngarcia@medicina.ivic.ve

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is increased worldwide concern about the consequences of folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiencies on health, which include megaloblastic anemia, neural tube defects and cardiovascular disease.

OBJECTIVE:

This study intended to determine the prevalence of folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiencies in vulnerable groups in labor and poor socioeconomic strata of the Venezuelan population.

METHODS:

A total of 5658 serum samples were processed to determine folic acid and vitamin B12 concentrations. The study involved three surveys performed during 2001-2002 and included infants, children, adolescents and pregnant women from labor and poor socioeconomic strata of the population. The method used was a radio immunoassay designed for the simultaneous measurement of serum folic acid and vitamin B12.

RESULTS:

The prevalence of folic acid deficiency was higher than 30% for all groups studied, reaching 81.79% in adolescents. Vitamin B12 deficiency was 11.4% in samples collected nationwide, but there was also a similar prevalence of high serum levels. The prevalence of folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiencies in pregnant women reached 36.32 and 61.34%, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

This work shows that there is a high prevalence of folic acid deficiency, especially in women of reproductive age, pregnant adolescents and in the whole population studied in Vargas state. This situation requires immediate intervention as supplementation or food fortification programs.

PMID:
16015269
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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