Preconceptional folic acid utilization in Israel: five years after the guidelines

Prev Med. 2008 Feb;46(2):166-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2007.09.005. Epub 2007 Sep 19.


Objective: In Israel, a national survey was conducted in order to assess the efficacy of the ongoing national folic acid (FA) campaign launched in 2000. The Ministry of Health had issued official guidelines in August 2000 recommending daily FA supplementation for all childbearing age women.

Methods: In 2005, structured interviews of pregnant and postpartum women were conducted by the nursing staff of the Maternal Child Health Clinics administered by the Public Health Service. The results of the 2005 survey are compared with similar surveys done in 2002 and 2000 (baseline).

Results: In the 2005 survey (n=1860), FA awareness, knowledge, timing knowledge and preconceptional utilization were 90.3%, 80.8%, 74.6% and 34.0%, respectively. Education was significantly associated with compliance: only 13.6% of women with <12 years of education utilized FA preconceptionally versus 48.1% of women with >or=16 years. In the 2002 survey (n=1661), FA awareness, knowledge, and preconceptional utilization were 85%, 77.7% and 30.5%, respectively. In the 2000 survey (n=1719), FA awareness was 54.6%, knowledge was 17.6% and preconceptional utilization was 5.2%.

Conclusions: The national preconceptional FA campaign in Israel has resulted in significant increases in awareness, knowledge and preconceptional utilization.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Israel
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control
  • Postpartum Period
  • Preconception Care*
  • Pregnancy


  • Folic Acid