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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4254.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - 2:30 PM

Abstract #102755

Innovative strategies to increase folic acid awareness and multivitamin use

Denise Lomuntad, MPA1, Elizabeth Riggs, MPH1, Stephen M. Abelman, MBA2, Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH3, and Janis L. Biermann, MS4. (1) National Office, March of Dimes, 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605, 914-997-4425, dlomuntad@marchofdimes.com, (2) Education and Health Promotion, March of Dimes, 1275 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, NY 10605, (3) Chapter Program Support, March of Dimes, 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605, (4) March of Dimes, 1275 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605

Objective: To provide an overview of a multi-faceted campaign to increase consumption of folic acid

Background: From 1999-2003, the March of Dimes implemented a nationwide campaign to educate health care professionals and consumers about the benefits of folic acid in order to promote multivitamin use, as part of a healthy diet, by women of childbearing age, and reduce neural tube defects (NTDs). The campaign resulted in significant improvement in awareness (77% in 2004), but only modest increases in vitamin use (40% in 2004). To further increase multivitamin use and decrease NTDs, ten March of Dimes state chapters are implementing targeted initiatives with support from their state attorney generals' office. These “Vitagrants” were the result of a class action settlement against multiple vitamin manufacturers.

Projects: Each chapter customized their project to fit the needs of their individual populations and their state's respective funding guidelines. The majority of projects complemented public and professional education efforts with media campaigns and multivitamin distribution to reach their target audience. For example, Rhode Island distributed vitamins through a food bank and Tennessee partnered with five major employers to distribute vitamins to their staff. New York used subway transit ads and billboards to increase awareness. Idaho conducted outreach to Hispanic women through WIC and migrant health clinics.

Lessons Learned: The presentation will discuss best practices and lessons learned from the ten projects, as well as the results of evaluation efforts. The presentation will also identify innovative strategies used to reach specific populations.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, the participant (learner) will be able to

Keywords: Vitamins, Public Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

Folic Acid Education and Promotion Programs Aimed at Various Targets

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA