More women of childbearing age now take
folic acid supplements to prevent birth defects
To learn more on this topic, be sure to also read the related
article, Doctors mislead the public with low-carb diet warning
about folic acid.
percent now take the vitamin that can prevent birth defects, a
new March of Dimes survey finds.
Forty percent of American women of childbearing age now get enough
folic acid to help prevent birth defects, according to a new March
of Dimes survey.
"We're still only at 40 percent, but that's a lot better
[than in past years]," said Dr. Siobhan Dolan, associate
medical director for the organization.
The Gallup survey was conducted for the March of Dimes and funded
through a grant from the CDC.
The results appear in the Sept. 17 issue of Morbidity and Mortality
Weekly Report, a CDC publication.
Pollsters asked a national sample of 2,012 women aged 18 to 45
about their vitamin use, why they did or didn't take folic acid,
and about their awareness of the importance of folic acid to prevent
birth defects, among other questions.
While 40 percent of women now take folic acid daily in the form
of multivitamins, just 28 percent did in 1995 and 32 percent did
"We had concerns that low-carb diets might put women in a
position where they didn't benefit from fortification in the food
supply," she said, referring to low-carb dieters' habit of
cutting down on or eliminating breads and other carbohydrate-rich
In the new survey, 49 percent of women who said they'd been on
a low-carb diet in the past six months said they took a multivitamin
every day with folic acid.
"We still have quite a long way to go before the vast majority
of women begin to take folic acid in preparation for pregnancy,"
Women should increase their consumption of a variety of foods
enriched with folate, she said.
That way, if a woman got pregnant while on the pill -- which is
unlikely but can happen she would have gotten enough folic acid,