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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557


STELUTI, Josiane; MARTINI, Lígia A.; PETERS, Barbara S. E.  and  MARCHIONI, Dirce M. L.. Folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 in adolescence: serum concentrations, prevalence of inadequate intakes and sources in food. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2011, vol.87, n.1, pp.43-49. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate serum concentrations and the prevalence of inadequate folate intake and also vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 intakes and to identify those foods that make a major contribution to intake levels of these nutrients. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional, observational study of adolescents of both sexes aged 16 to 19 years from the town of Indaiatuba, SP, Brazil. Data collection was by non-consecutive 3-day dietary record. The samples’ habitual diet was estimated by removing intraindividual variability, and the prevalence rates of inadequate intakes were calculated using the estimated average requirement as cutoff points. Biochemical assays for folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 were conducted in accordance with the methods accepted in the literature. RESULTS: The study sample comprised 99 adolescents, the majority of whom were female (58.6%), with a mean age of 17.6 [standard deviation, (SD) 0.9]. Mean serum concentrations for folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 were 9.2 (SD 3.4) ng/mL, 18.7 (SD 5.1) nmol/L and 397.5 (SD 188.4) pg/mL, respectively; and the prevalence rates of inadequate intake for these vitamins were 15.2, 10.2 and < 1%, respectively. The foods that made a major contribution to vitamin intakes were French bread, pasta and beans for folate; white rice, chicken and beef for vitamin B6; and lean beef, whole milk and fatty beef for vitamin B12. CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence rates of inadequate folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 intakes were low, which is possibly the result of improved access to and availability of foods that are dietary sources of these vitamins. Beans, which are a part of the traditional Brazilian diet, remain one of the primary food items that contribute to folate intake, even after mandatory fortification with folic acid in Brazil.

Keywords : Nutrition; food consumption; adolescents; vitamins; homocysteine; biomarkers.

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