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Folic acid supplementation and social deprivation

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Caroline Relton, Donna Hammal, Professor Judith Rankin, Professor Louise Parker


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Objective: To assess the use of folic acid supplementation in relation to small-area measures of social deprivation. Design: Cohort study. Setting: Antenatal clinic, Women's Outpatients Services, Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, UK. Subjects: Four hundred and fifty women attending their 18-week antenatal clinic appointment. No selection criteria were applied. Townsend scores were allocated using postcodes to provide a small-area measure (enumeration district) of social deprivation. Results: Eighty-nine per cent of women took folic acid prior to their 18-week antenatal clinic appointment; 48% of women took folic acid before 4 weeks of gestation. Younger women and more socially deprived women were less likely to use folic acid supplements before 4 weeks of gestation. Women with a family history of neural tube defects were no more likely to take folic acid than were women with no family history of neural tube defects. Conclusion: A high proportion of women reported taking folic acid supplements during pregnancy but less than half took them at the most important time in early pregnancy. Younger women and women who were more socio-economically deprived were much less likely to take folic acid during the critical periconceptional period. Future strategies should promote prenatal folic acid supplementation in women under the age of 24 and in women of low socio-economic status. Further attention should also be given to the use of folic acid supplements in women with a family history of neural tube defects. © The Authors 2004.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Relton CL, Hammal DM, Rankin J, Parker L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Public Health Nutrition

Year: 2005

Volume: 8

Issue: 3

Pages: 338-340

Print publication date: 01/05/2005

ISSN (print): 1368-9800

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2727

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1079/PHN2004690

PubMed id: 15918932


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