Use of supplements containing folic acid among women of childbearing age--United States, 2007

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2008 Jan 11;57(1):5-8.


Neural tube defects (NTDs) are serious birth defects of the brain (anencephaly) and spine (spina bifida) that affect approximately 3,000 pregnancies each year in the United States. In 1992, the U.S. Public Health Service recommended that all women of childbearing age in the United States capable of becoming pregnant consume 400 microg of folic acid daily to reduce their risk for having a pregnancy affected by NTDs. To assess awareness, knowledge, and behavior related to folic acid among women of childbearing age (aged 18-45 years), CDC analyzed the results of a national survey conducted annually by the Gallup Organization during the period 2003-2007. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that, among all women of childbearing age, those aged 18-24 years had the least awareness regarding folic acid consumption (61%), the least knowledge regarding when folic acid should be taken (6%), and the lowest reported daily use of supplements containing folic acid (30%). Because women in this age group account for nearly one third of all births in the United States, promotion of folic acid consumption should be targeted to this population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Supplements* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Folic Acid* / administration & dosage
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Folic Acid