3339.0 Folic Acid

Monday, October 27, 2008: 2:30 PM
Flour fortification to prevent neural tube defects was mandated in the United States in January, 1998. Canada, Chile and a number of other countries in Central and South America have also fortified flour and other staple foods. In the intervening years, these countries, on the whole, saw a substantial decline in the prevalence of NTDs that range from 25% to 55%; the relative change appears to be dependent on the magnitude of the prevalence prior to fortification. While the rates for all race and ethnic groups have fallen, there remain disparities by race and ethnicity. Most notable in the United States is the disparity among Hispanics. Prior to fortification, Hispanics had about twice the prevalence of NTDs; with fortification the prevalence declined in all race/ethnic groups, but the disparity among Hispanics remains. This special session will discuss the following four topics providing current perspectives on the scientific evidence and the public health measures needed to address each: (1) A global perspective on impact of flour fortification on NTD rates (J. Mulinare); (2) An examination of additional prevention strategies that may impact NTD disparities among Hispanics in the United States and in other countries (JF Cordero); (3) A review of other health effects of folic acid and their implications for public health prevention strategies (RJ Berry); and (4) A global effort to fortify flour and other cereal grains with folic acid and other important micronutrients (I Parvanta.)
Session Objectives: Describe the world-wide benefit of folic acid fortification in the prevention of neural tube defects Articulate the strategies to minimize the racial/ethnic disparities in NTD prevention impact List some of the unique partnerships in the global effort to fortify flour Recognize some of the other and emerging health effects of folic acid beyond NTD prevention
Coleen Boyle, PhD and Hani Atrash, MD, MPH

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Maternal and Child Health
Endorsed by: Food and Nutrition, Socialist Caucus, Women's Caucus