Which patient populations are at increased risk for folic acid deficiency/

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

Pregnant women are at higher risk of developing folate deficiency because of increased requirements.

Certain elderly people also may be more susceptible to folate deficiency, as a result of their predisposition to mental status changes, social isolation, low intake of leafy vegetables and fruits, malnutrition, and comorbid medical conditions. The greatest risk appears to be among low-income populations and institutionalized elderly people; risk is lower in the free-living elderly population. In fact, analysis of 2003-2006 NHANES cohort showed that adults older than 50 years are the most likely to receive folic acid over-supplementation due to the consumption of both fortified foods and supplements containing folic acid. [1]

A study of 2922 children in a population-based cohort study revealed an association beween early high folic acid intakes and lower body weight and body mass index (BMI). This requires further investigation. [42]


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