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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790XOn-line version ISSN 1980-5497


FONSECA, Vania Matos; SICHIERI, Rosely; BASILIO, Luciana  and  RIBEIRO, Luciana Viana da Costa. Dietary folate intake by pregnant women in a public hospital in Rio de Janeiro. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2003, vol.6, n.4, pp.319-327. ISSN 1415-790X.

Folate plays an important role in DNA and RNA synthesis, a central feature of fetal development. There is a lack of information concerning dietary folate intake during pregnancy in Brazil, and in other countries, a significant proportion of women in childbearing age have low dietary folate intake and do not use folic acid-containing supplements. Folate intake by pregnant women was examined in a public hospital in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The analysis included 285 pregnant women at the Fernandes Figueira Institute Maternity (FIOCRUZ). Food-derived folate was assessed by a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire, previously validated, with standardized food portions. The study collected data on demographic and socio-economic characteristics and the use of folic acid supplements throughout pregnancy. The prevalence of a deficient dietary folate intake (intake < 600 µg/day) was of 51.3%. Only 22.4% of the pregnant women used folic acid supplements. With the inclusion of supplemental folate in the dietary folate intake, the prevalence dropped to 43.8%. Low-income women reported greater intake of energy, folate and folic acid supplements. The variation of folic consumption was explained by beef, R2 =0.962 (p=0.02), and milk, R2=0.038 (p=0.007). Due to the necessity of folate supplementation during pregnancy, we suggest it is important to advise women planning to conceive to start the use of folic acid supplements, as well as the emphasis.

Keywords : Folate; Folic acid; Prevalence of deficient dietary folate intake by pregnant women; Folic acid supplements.

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