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March of Dimes Urges Folic Acid Intake, Especially Among Latinas

It's national Folic Acid week- which for the March of Dimes is a chance to promote the fight against birth defects. The non -profit is looking for ways to increase folic acid intake among Hispanic women in particular.

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[The March of Dimes is a nonprofit organization supporting pregnancy and baby health]

All women of child bearing age are encouraged to take folic acid,  a B vitamin which is known to prevent neural tube defects- a devastating type of birth defect. As a back up, the United States fortifies its grains and cereal with folic acid. It’s helped. Neural tube defects have decreased 26-percent since 1998. But one population still struggles. Latina women are 20-percent more likely than others to have a child with a neural tube defect. Orange County Healthy Start Coalition Executive Director Linda Sutherland says Latina women tend not to take vitamins. Their diet is sometimes different too.

“The white flour that you use for cooking, is fortified with folic acid. But the masa, you know, the corn flour that they use in a lot of their cooking is not, and that’s something the March of Dimes has been working on for a while,” she says.

Sutherland says since 50 percent of all pregnancies are unplanned,  folic acid is important for any woman of child  bearing age.  


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