Local MP backs charity campaign | Action Medical Research

Local MP backs charity campaign

14 November 2000
**Action Research raises awareness about the health benefits of folic acid** More Surrey mothers and mums-to-be need to know the health benefits of taking folic acid during pregnancy, according to a charity campaign being supported by local MP Virginia Bottomley. Leading medical charity, Action Research, recently launched its Supplementing the Message campaign to raise greater awareness. And MP for South West Surrey, the Rt Hon Virginia Bottomley has endorsed the charity’s efforts. Ms Bottomley says: ‘As a mother, grandmother and former Minister of Health I am committed to doing all we can to protect babies from avoidable disability. ‘I welcome the activities of Action Research, focusing on the lives of unborn children by raising awareness and stressing the importance of taking folic acid during pregnancy.’ Thirty years ago Action Research discovered vital clues suggesting that the folic acid vitamin was a key ingredient in helping prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida in unborn babies. But a recent MORI poll commissioned by the charity found that only 56% of British women aged 15-55 years-old were aware of this link. About one in five (17%) were completely unaware of the health benefits. Ms Bottomley added: ‘Women trying to get pregnant and who are pregnant can help prevent NTDs. It’s as simple as taking a pill or increasing the amount of folate in the diet through bread, cereals, vegetables and milk. ‘The frightening aspect is that recent studies have shown that only half of women of childbearing age are aware of the benefits of folic acid. ‘Action Research is a remarkable charity which funds research projects at the cutting edge of medicine and trains researchers for the future. Through hard work and effort it has been able to touch the lives of the living as well as the future lives to come. Many in my constituency support its excellent work, far more will benefit.’ Action Research has contributed to the many medical breakthroughs in history such as Britain’s first polio vaccine and the first medical use of ultrasound scanning. The charity currently funds about 160 projects, a total commitment of over £14 million. Every year they fund new research worth about £4 million. Its work benefits all ages and sectors of society, but especially children, where the greatest proportion of its grants are focused. For a copy of our new ‘Wellbeing in Pregnancy’ leaflet, send a SAE to Action Research, Vincent House, North Parade, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 2DP.
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