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Awareness and use of folic acid, and blood folate concentrations among pregnant women in northern China--an area with a high prevalence of neural tube defects.
Reprod Toxicol 2006; 22(3):431-6RT

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The prevalence of neural tube defects (NTDs) in northern China remains high after 10 years since periconceptional supplementation with folic acid has been known to be effective in reducing the risk of NTDs.

OBJECTIVE

The objectives of this study were to characterize folic acid awareness and use and to examine the association between folic acid supplementation with blood folate concentrations among early pregnant women in an area with a high prevalence of NTDs in northern China.

SUBJECT AND METHOD

From December 2002 to February 2004, 693 early pregnant women were recruited and interviewed about folic acid awareness, knowledge and use. Four millilitres of venous blood was drawn and blood folate concentrations were measured.

RESULTS

About 36% of women reported having ever heard of folic acid. Of these, 82.7% knew that folic acid can prevent NTDs, and 64.5% knew the best time to take it. Overall, 15% of women reported having ever taken folic acid. However, only 34.3% had begun to take it before the last menstrual period. Women with less education (21.1%), farmers (19.6%), rural dwellers (23.5%), and women who had a previous child (23.0%) were less likely to be aware of folic acid, and were less likely to take folic acid. Among women who had ever heard of folic acid, 37.5% took it during current pregnancy, compared with only 2.0% among those who had not. Women who were aware of folic acid were 25 times more likely to take it than women who were not. Overall, 44% of women had plasma folate deficiency, and 35% had red cell folate deficiency. Those who reported having ever taken folic acid had a lower rate of plasma folate deficiency (13.7%), compared with those who reported not taking folic acid (49.4%). The former group's mean plasma concentrations were twice as high as those of the latter group.

CONCLUSION

The levels of folic acid awareness, knowledge and use among Chinese women living in a high NTD prevalence area during early pregnancy were very low and folate deficiency was quite prevalent. Campaigns aimed at increasing the awareness, knowledge, and periconceptional use of folic acid should target to less educated, parous women and women living in rural areas.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Institute of Reproductive and Child Health, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing, PR China. renag@sohu.comNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

16549319

Citation

Ren, Aiguo, et al. "Awareness and Use of Folic Acid, and Blood Folate Concentrations Among Pregnant Women in Northern China--an Area With a High Prevalence of Neural Tube Defects." Reproductive Toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.), vol. 22, no. 3, 2006, pp. 431-6.
Ren A, Zhang L, Li Z, et al. Awareness and use of folic acid, and blood folate concentrations among pregnant women in northern China--an area with a high prevalence of neural tube defects. Reprod Toxicol. 2006;22(3):431-6.
Ren, A., Zhang, L., Li, Z., Hao, L., Tian, Y., & Li, Z. (2006). Awareness and use of folic acid, and blood folate concentrations among pregnant women in northern China--an area with a high prevalence of neural tube defects. Reproductive Toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.), 22(3), pp. 431-6.
Ren A, et al. Awareness and Use of Folic Acid, and Blood Folate Concentrations Among Pregnant Women in Northern China--an Area With a High Prevalence of Neural Tube Defects. Reprod Toxicol. 2006;22(3):431-6. PubMed PMID: 16549319.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Awareness and use of folic acid, and blood folate concentrations among pregnant women in northern China--an area with a high prevalence of neural tube defects. AU - Ren,Aiguo, AU - Zhang,Le, AU - Li,Zhiwen, AU - Hao,Ling, AU - Tian,Yihua, AU - Li,Zhu, Y1 - 2006/03/06/ PY - 2005/11/06/received PY - 2006/01/24/revised PY - 2006/02/09/accepted PY - 2006/3/22/pubmed PY - 2006/11/15/medline PY - 2006/3/22/entrez SP - 431 EP - 6 JF - Reproductive toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.) JO - Reprod. Toxicol. VL - 22 IS - 3 N2 - BACKGROUND: The prevalence of neural tube defects (NTDs) in northern China remains high after 10 years since periconceptional supplementation with folic acid has been known to be effective in reducing the risk of NTDs. OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to characterize folic acid awareness and use and to examine the association between folic acid supplementation with blood folate concentrations among early pregnant women in an area with a high prevalence of NTDs in northern China. SUBJECT AND METHOD: From December 2002 to February 2004, 693 early pregnant women were recruited and interviewed about folic acid awareness, knowledge and use. Four millilitres of venous blood was drawn and blood folate concentrations were measured. RESULTS: About 36% of women reported having ever heard of folic acid. Of these, 82.7% knew that folic acid can prevent NTDs, and 64.5% knew the best time to take it. Overall, 15% of women reported having ever taken folic acid. However, only 34.3% had begun to take it before the last menstrual period. Women with less education (21.1%), farmers (19.6%), rural dwellers (23.5%), and women who had a previous child (23.0%) were less likely to be aware of folic acid, and were less likely to take folic acid. Among women who had ever heard of folic acid, 37.5% took it during current pregnancy, compared with only 2.0% among those who had not. Women who were aware of folic acid were 25 times more likely to take it than women who were not. Overall, 44% of women had plasma folate deficiency, and 35% had red cell folate deficiency. Those who reported having ever taken folic acid had a lower rate of plasma folate deficiency (13.7%), compared with those who reported not taking folic acid (49.4%). The former group's mean plasma concentrations were twice as high as those of the latter group. CONCLUSION: The levels of folic acid awareness, knowledge and use among Chinese women living in a high NTD prevalence area during early pregnancy were very low and folate deficiency was quite prevalent. Campaigns aimed at increasing the awareness, knowledge, and periconceptional use of folic acid should target to less educated, parous women and women living in rural areas. SN - 0890-6238 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/16549319/Awareness_and_use_of_folic_acid_and_blood_folate_concentrations_among_pregnant_women_in_northern_China__an_area_with_a_high_prevalence_of_neural_tube_defects_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0890-6238(06)00058-X DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -