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Nutr Res Pract. 2007 Summer;1(2):120-5. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2007.1.2.120. Epub 2007 Jun 30.

Marginal folate inadequacy observed in a group of young children in Kwangju, Korea.

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Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583-0806, USA.


Folate is important for multiple metabolic processes such as nucleic acid synthesis and interconversions, and cell division. Folate deficiency may be a risk factor for several pathologies, such as neural tube birth defects, dementia, and cardiovascular diseases. The objectives of this study were to estimate folate intakes and plasma concentrations of young children living in Kwangju, Korea. Three consecutive 24-h food recalls and fasting blood samples were obtained from 24 boys and 30 girls, aged 2-6 y, living in Kwangju, Korea. The daily folate intake (mean +/- SD) of the children was 146.7 +/- 73.6 microg dietary folate equivalents. No differences in folate intakes were observed by gender (p>/=0.05). The mean folate intakes of the 2 and 3 y old groups were significantly lower (p<0.05) than those of 5 and 6 y old groups. Over half of subjects consumed <Korean Estimated Average Requirements for folate. The plasma folate concentration (mean +/- SD) of all subjects was 19.2 +/- 8.7 nmol/L, and there was no significant difference by age nor gender (p>/=0.05). No significant correlation was observed between folate intakes and plasma folate concentrations. One subject (1.9%) in this study had a plasma folate concentration <6.8 nmol/L, which is indicative of folate deficiency. Approximately 24% of subjects had plasma folate concentrations of 6.8-13.4 nmol/L, which is representative of marginal folate status. In conclusion, some young children may have less than adequate folate status in Korea.


Folate; Korea; children; fortification; plasma folate

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