Don't leave it too late for extra folate: Are YOU Failing The Acid Test? | Action Medical Research

Don't leave it too late for extra folate: Are YOU Failing The Acid Test?

28 August 2001
It’s simple, painless and good for a baby’s health. But some mothers and mums-to-be are still failing to take the recommended dosage of folic acid. As part of National Pregnancy Week (week beginning September 3) leading medical research charity Action Research is urging women to ensure they pass the ‘Acid Test’! Women can increase their intake of folic acid by ensuring they munch their greens, eat fortified products such as some cereals and bread, and most importantly take daily supplements. The charity, which is famous for its efforts to overcome disease and disability and helped bring ultrasound into the medical world, is also releasing a free leaflet Wellbeing in Pregnancy which includes further details about the important vitamin. John Grounds, director of Action Research campaign and communications, says: ‘All women want to give their babies the best start in life, which is why taking folic acid is so helpful. It’s a simple and painless way of giving them an extra health boost.’ Action Research has a special interest in folic acid. Thirty years ago the charity discovered vital clues suggesting that the folic acid vitamin was a key ingredient in helping prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida, which currently accounts for 10% of all birth defects. Although subsequent studies have reiterated this key message, many women fail to take the recommended advice and dosage. A MORI poll commissioned by Action Research last year found that only 56% of the respondents (all women aged 15-55) understood the important link. Former Coronation Street star, Denise Welch delivered her second child Louis earlier this year. She says: ‘I didn’t take folic acid at all in my first pregnancy because I didn’t know anything about it, there wasn’t enough awareness. ‘But as soon as I knew I was pregnant with Louis I took it immediately. When you’re expecting you do as much as you can to ensure it’s a healthy pregnancy, be it cutting down on alcohol, stopping smoking, watching what you eat, and taking folic acid.’ Action Research Touching Lives Campaign aims to raise £2m for vital medical research. For more details visit For a copy of the free Wellbeing in Pregnancy leaflet please write to Action Research, Vincent House, North Parade, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 2DP. For press enquires, please contact Nicole Duckworth in the Action Research press office on 01403 327403 Fax: 01403 210541, or email ISDN facilities are available for interveiws. Fortification Fact-file: *One of the main reasons for not taking folic acid, despite awareness of its benefits is that pregnancies are discovered too late to do so. *This adds ammunition to calls for the universal fortification of flour, which will help target unplanned pregnancies, and according to a Government committee report could prevent almost half of neural tube defects .The Department of Health is currently consulting on the conclusions. *The Action Research MORI poll found that 72% were in favour of fortification. Another 15% were against it, and 13% didn’t know. *In 1998 the American authorities ordered folic acid to be added to all products made with enriched flours such as breakfast cereals, bread and pastas. The results have been encouraging, with cases of NTDs falling by 19 per cent, according to new research. *MORI interviewed a representative quota sample of 804 women aged 15-55. Interviews were conducted face-to-face in homes across Great Britain. Interviews were carried out between October 5-9 2000. Data have been weighted to the known profile of the British population. For further information on MORI please visit their website at:
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