What is the global prevalence of folic acid deficiency?

Updated: Sep 14, 2018
  • Author: Katherine Coffey-Vega, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

International

Nearly every country in the western hemisphere has mandatory folic acid flour fortification, and most European countries have policies recommending folic acid supplementation prior to conception and for the first 3 months of pregnancy. [20]  Flour fortification with folic acid has been shown to result in significant improvements in folate status among women of reproductive age, in areas where folate deficiency is high. [21]

Casey et al examined the effects over 1 year of a free weekly iron-folic acid supplementation and deworming program in 52,000 Vietnamese women of childbearing age. [22] The investigators collected demographic data and blood and stool samples at baseline and at 3 and 12 months following the implementation of the program.

Findings included a mean Hb increase of 9.6 g/L (P< 0.001) and a reduction in the presence of anemia from 37.5% of the women at baseline to 19.3% at 12 months. [22] Iron deficiency was also reduced, from 22.8% at baseline to 9.3% by 12 months, as well as hookworm infection (76.2% at baseline to 23.0%) in the same period.


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