National Folic Acid Awareness Week is January 2-8, 2011. The NCFA sees these seven days as a time to focus the attention on what folic acid is and why it is important to women of childbearing age.
Healthy Food Choices for Folic Acid
Messages from the NCFA
1. Educating all women, especially Latinas, that folic acid can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine should be a priority in 2011.
2. Women of childbearing age should take a multivitamin with folic acid every day and eat foods fortified with folic acid, in addition to a healthy diet.
Nutritional habits 1. Although all enriched cereals and grain products in the U.S. are fortified with the B-vitamin folic acid, only one-third of U.S. women of childbearing age consume the recommended amount from their diet. Taking a multivitamin with folic acid everyday is a key way women can get the recommended amount of 400 mcg.
2. Be prepared before pregnancy. Women need folic acid, even if not planning to become pregnant, since 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned. Taking folic acid before pregnancy reduces the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects (NTDs), by up to 70%.
Message to the Hispanic community Hispanic babies are 1.5 to 2 times more likely than others in the U.S. to be born with an NTD. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Latinas in the U.S. consume the least amount of folic acid and have the least knowledge about folic acid among racial or ethnic groups.