Veggies And Vitamins Folic
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- In North Carolina birth defects are a primary cause of infant
deaths. In 2000 there were 171 infant deaths attributed to
defects, a rate of 1.37 deaths per 1,000 live births.*
- Prevention of birth defects starts before pregnancy.
- All women of childbearing age, regardless of whether they are
planning a pregnancy, should consume at least 0.4 mg (400 mcg)
and not more than 1 mg of folic acid (also called folate) daily.
- Up to 70% of Neural Tube Defects (NTD), a type of
birth defect, can be prevented if folic acid recommendations
are followed before and during pregnancy.**
- Neural Tube Defects affect about 200 pregnancies resulting
in about 100 infants born with NTD each year in North Carolina
and are the second most common cause of infant death. (Prematurity
and low birth weight is the leading cause.)
- The most common NTD involve defects of the brain (anencephaly)
and spine (spina bifida).
- anencephaly the brain fails to develop, resulting in
- spina bifida – the spinal cord, rather than being covered
by the spine, is exposed at the skin surface. Usually results
in disabilities such as paralysis, foot and knee deformities,
urinary and bowel control problems, and slight to severe mental
Carolina Center for Health Statistics
for Disease Control and Prevention Folic Acid Now
To increase awareness of the:
- Benefits of folic acid (a B vitamin).
- How women can prevent some birth defects including consuming
adequate amounts of folic acid through diet and dietary supplements.
Although the causes of most birth defects are unknown, the link
between adequate folic acid consumption and the reduced risk for
NTDs is well documented.
Campaign targets women of childbearing age and health care providers
focused on women’s and adolescents’ health. To help prevent birth
defects the Campaign educates women of childbearing age about the
need for consuming at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily both
before conception and during pregnancy.
Women of reproductive age are the primary target audience of the
Folic Acid Campaign because:
- NTD develop very early in pregnancy (13 30 days after
conception), often before most women know they are pregnant.
- More than half of pregnancies are not planned, so it is particularly
important that all women of childbearing age get the appropriate
daily dose of folic acid.
- Folic acid helps the mother and the developing baby have a healthy
body. Folic acid:
- Is essential for producing red blood cells and tissue cells.
- Aids in cell division and growth.
- Promotes a healthy intestinal tract.
- Fosters the normal growth of cells.
- Is linked to a decrease in heart disease in adults.
- Reduces the occurrence of cleft palate.
Women are at increased risk for having an NTD-affected pregnancy
if they have had a previous NTD-affected pregnancy, have spina bifida
or have a close family member with spina bifida, or are obese.
The Campaign partners with the NC Folic Acid Council and creates
educational materials to help increase public awareness about the
link between adequate folic acid consumption and reduced NTD. One
of the materials is "Love Your
Body, Love Yourself", written in
English, that describes sources of folic acid and fits inside a
purse for easy reference.
Assistance Center (ECAC)
(800-962-6817; 704-892-1321) – part of a national network of federally
funded parent training and information centers, the ECAC offers
NC families individual assistance, parent education workshops, information,
and referrals. [PO Box 16, Davidson, NC 28036]
Family Support Network of
North Carolina (FSN)
(800-852-0042) – a program of the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill School of Medicine that serves families of children
with special needs and professionals serving these families. Provides
information about disabilities and resources, offers parent support
programs, and encourages parent–professional collaborations. [UNC-CH,
Campus Box #7340, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7340]
North Carolina Folic Acid
Campaign (1-800-367-2229) – a public education and
awareness campaign which aims to reduce the number of pregnancies
affected by neural tube
birth defects (NTDs). The campaign is a program of the NC
Folic Acid Council, a statewide multi-disciplinary group established
to address neural tube defects and its consequences in North
of Dimes North Carolina -
the North Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes works to improve
the health of babies by reducing infant mortality and birth defects.
Spina Bifida Association of
North Carolina (800-847-2262) – nonprofit organization that
provides information, news, and support to N.C. families who have
a family member with spina bifida. [5632 Ebley Lane Charlotte, NC
Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) – information about foods, medicines, drugs, cosmetics,
research, and medical devices.
For information about folic acid:
- Click on the FDA web address above.
- Click on Foods.
- Scroll down to Special Interest Areas and click on Women’s
- Scroll down to Information for Women Who Are and click
- Scroll down to Folic Acid to access fact sheets.
To access reports from the Federal Register about folic acid as
a dietary supplement, its role in helping to prevent neural tube
defects, and fact sheets search
the FDA website, key word Folic Acid.
The March of Dimes Resource
Center a leader in birth defects prevention and research,
provides information and referral services for parents, health care
providers, students, and others worldwide.
National Information Center
for Children and Youth with Disabilities information
on disabilities and referrals; focuses on children and youth from
birth to age 22.
With Spina Bifida information and resources for parents
of children with spina bifida; links to other sites about spina
bifida and neural tube defects.
Risk Program at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada information on folic acid and neural tube
To Order Folic Acid Materials:
here to view a .PDF
file version onscreen.*
- Print out the form and fill it in.
- Fax it to the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation at
919-828-1446 or mail to 1300 St. Mary's Street, Suite 204, Raleigh,
To get complete ordering instructions and more detailed information
about how to order single copies and bulk copies of all of our
Educational Materials, click on Educational
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