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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Low-income women in California may be at risk of inadequate folate intake

  • Author(s): Cena, Emily R.
  • Block Joy, Amy
  • Heneman, Karrie M.
  • Zidenberg-Cherr, Sheri
  • et al.

Folate plays a major role in preventing neural tube defects in the developing fetus, as well as in reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and some mental health problems. We assessed the folate intakes of socioeconomically disadvantaged women of childbearing age participating in California’s Food Stamp Nutrition Education program. Of 195 women studied, 59% failed to meet the Institute of Medicine’s folate intake recommendations for women capable of becoming pregnant. We found significant differences among the ethnic groups studied: 45% of Hispanic, 65% of white and 77% of black women did not meet the recommendation for synthetic folic acid intake. This study supports the need for developing targeted nutrition-education lessons focusing on the importance of adequate folate consumption.

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