The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4076.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - Board 6

Abstract #61591

Point 4 the future: Educating young women about folic acid

Heidi V. Krowchuk, RN, PhD, FAAN, School of Nursing, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, P.O. Box 26170, 307 Moore Building, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170, 336-334-4899, and Sarah Verbiest, MPH, MSW, North Carolina Chapter, March of Dimes, 4112 Pleasant Valley Road, Suite 208, Raleigh, NC 27612.

The most common, serious, and preventable birth defects that occur in the United States are neural tube defects (NTDs).About 70% of NTDs can be prevented if all women of childbearing age consumed 0.4 milligrams (mg) of folic acid every day, beginning well before pregnancy. About 30% of childbearing-age women take daily folic acid supplementation; only 22% of women 18-24 years of age (the group at highest risk for pregnancy) take daily supplementation. Point 4 The Future, an educational intervention that uses a peer-education model, was designed to 1) increase the number of college-age women on 60 campuses in North Carolina who take 0.4 mg of folic acid daily; and 2) educate college-age women about the importance of folic acid in preventing NTDs. Using health educators and college students as trained peer educators, educational sessions have been provided to over 30,000 students. Prior to educational sessions, folic acid knowledge pretests are administered to participants. A 90-day supply of a multivitamin with 0.4 mg folic acid are provided to participants after completion of a session, and post-tests to determine folic acid knowledge and use are administered to participants 1 - 3 months after session participation. From pretest data, about 50% of the students know that folic acid can help prevent NTDs; however, only 30% of the females report taking daily folic acid supplementation. Post-test scores demonstrate a significant increase in students' knowledge about folic acid, and 82% of females report daily folic acid consumption at 1-3 month follow-up.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Health Education Strategies, College Students

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: This project was funded by The March of Dimes Foundation.
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Topics in Women's Health

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA