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Epidemiology and policy
P1-117 Determinants of folate concentration in Canadian women of childbearing age
  1. C K Colapinto1,2,
  2. D L O'Connor3,4,
  3. L Dubois2,
  4. M S Tremblay1,5
  1. 1Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Healthy Active Living Obesity Research Group, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2University of Ottawa Institute of Population Health, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4University of Toronto, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  5. 5University of Ottawa, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


Objectives One-fifth of Canadian women of childbearing age have a red blood cell (RBC) folate below concentrations considered optimal for maximal neural tube defect risk reduction (<906 nmol/l). This study explored the determinants of RBC folate concentrations ≥906 nmol/l Canadian women.

Methods RBC folate concentrations from the nationally representative Canadian Health Measures Survey were assessed in women aged 15 to 45 years (N=1162). The population was described using frequencies and percentages. Sociodemographic, behavioural and clinical determinants of concentrations ≥906 nmol/l were examined using univariate and separate multiple logistic regression models controlling for age and household income.

Results More women with folate concentrations ≥906 nmol/l were evident in higher age groups (15 to 19 years (70.0%), 20 to 39 years (79.6%), 40 to 45 years (80.8%)) and income quartiles (74.7% (Q1), 76.8% (Q2), 80.2% (Q3), 86.3% (Q4)). Folic acid containing supplement users had a higher prevalence of concentrations ≥906 nmol/l (87.9%) than non- users (75.2%). Prevalence of concentrations ≥906 nmol/l rose with higher intake of fruit/vegetables (< once per day (64.7%), 1–2 times per day (74.2%) and >3 times per day (82.9%)) and grain products (< once per day (67.7%), 1–2 times per day (80.5%), >3 times per day (77.6%)). Detailed regression analysis results will be presented at the conference.

Interpretation These results will inform nutrition policies, particularly those related to folic acid fortification of select grains and preconception/prenatal folic acid supplementation recommendations for women of childbearing age. This will ultimately contribute to improving the health of Canadians and optimising infant health.

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