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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2006;15(3):335-40.

Which mothers take folic acid and folate containing foods?

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  • 1School of Public Health, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth 6845, Western Australia. c.binns@curtin.edu.au


This study documented the prevalence (proportion) of mothers taking folic as supplements or as fortified foods and explored the factors that determined whether folic acid was taken. A cross sectional analysis of the baseline data of mothers who participated in the Perth Infant Feeding Study was performed. A total of 587 mothers who delivered at the two hospitals in the study completed baseline questionnaires. The factors associated with the decision to take folic acid supplements or fortified foods were investigated using multivariate logistic regression. Main outcome measures were the percentage of mothers taking folic acid or folic acid fortified foods. A total of 455 (78%) mothers stated that they took folic acid supplements before or during the first three months of their pregnancy. Of the 132 who did not take folate supplements only 35 (6% of all participating mothers) claimed to have taken folate fortified food or beverages. In the highest income group, 87% of mothers took folic acid supplements compared to 64% in the poorest group. The significant factors independently associated with not taking folic acid supplements or fortified food were " years of education " (OR ' 10 years or less' 0.45 (0.23-0.88)), " family income " (OR < $ 25000 0.40(0.20-0.80)), and for taking folic acid "the timing of the pregnancy. "(OR'actively trying'2.01 (0.1.04-0.3.87)). There was a significant proportion of mothers who did not take folic acid periconceptually. The mothers who were not taking folic were less educated, from lower socio-economic groups and were not actively trying to fall pregnant at the time they became pregnant. The results suggest that in order to reach all Australian mothers, mandatory fortification of foods with folic acid should be required.

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