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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Knowledge and use of folic acid for birth defect prevention among women of childbearing age in Shanghai, China: A prospective cross-sectional study

Huan Lian, Duan Ma, Shu-Feng Zhou, Xiaotian Li

Med Sci Monit 2011; 17(12): PH87-92

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.882111

Available online:

Published: 2011-12-01

Background:    This study aimed to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practice of folic acid intake for prevention of birth defects in Chinese women of child-bearing age.
    Material/Methods:    In this prospective cross-sectional study, a total of 1,338 women aged 20–45 years were randomly selected for interview. Data on folic acid knowledge and information on folic acid intake in the subjects were collected. Age, education, contraception, and status of family planning were used as the independent variables in multivariate logistic regression.
    Results:    55.6% of the subjects took contraception at all times, and 33.9% had pregnancy planning in the next six months. 49.7% of the interviewed women knew the benefits of folic acid and 34.6% realized the correct time of folic acid intake; and 14.9% of these women actually took folic acid daily. Planning to be pregnant in the next six months was associated with knowledge of folic acid benefits, correct time of folic acid intake and actual intake. A higher education level was correlated with the knowledge of folic acid benefits and correct time of folic acid intake, but was not linked to actual intake of folic acid.
    Conclusions:    The knowledge and use of folic acid were at low to moderate levels in women at childbearing age in Shanghai, China, and general knowledge of folic acid benefits and correct time of folic acid intake should be conveyed to these women.

Keywords: Neural Tube Defects - prevention & control, Multivariate Analysis, Logistic Models, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Folic Acid - therapeutic use, Demography, Cross-Sectional Studies, China, Adult, Pregnancy, Prospective Studies, Time Factors, young adult