Approximately 70% of women of reproductive age may not understand the importance of adequate dietary folate in preventing neural tube defects (NTDs) in offspring, according to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Michigan Department of Community Health. The survey found that only 42.4% of women reported taking a multivitamin or folic acid supplement daily.
Women most likely to be knowledgeable about folic acid use were: college graduates, aged 25 to 29 years, former smokers, married, those who ate five or more fruits and vegetables a day, and not overweight. In general, the same women were most likely to take multivitamins.
Two thirds of American women do not get enough folic acid experts say. Because neural tube defects often occur before a women knows she is pregnant, all women of childbearing age should be encouraged to maintain a healthy diet that includes increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables and supplementing with fortified foods and vitamins.
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