Folate Status and Neural Tube Defects in Aboriginal Australians

The Success of Mandatory Fortification in Reducing a Health Disparity

Heather D'Antoine, Carol Bower

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Historically, neural tube defects (NTD) in Australia affected around 1 in every 1000 births; 42% higher for Aboriginal births. Following firm evidence of the protective effect of periconceptional folate, health promotion activities encouraged increased folate intake through diet and supplements and limited voluntary food fortification. A 30% reduction in NTD was observed in non-Aboriginal but not Aboriginal infants, widening the disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rates. Mandatory flour fortification with folic acid in 2009, led to further reductions in overall NTD, and greater reduction among Aboriginal infants, such that rates in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal infants were similar by 2010-2014. Elimination of this disparity will make a small but important contribution to the Australian government's Closing the Gap initiative to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal people. Long-term, complete, high-quality surveillance data on NTD have been of great value in monitoring trends in and evaluation of public health interventions for NTD in Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbernzz071
    Pages (from-to)1-6
    Number of pages6
    JournalCurrent Developments in Nutrition
    Volume3
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

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    neural tube defects
    Neural Tube Defects
    Folic Acid
    folic acid
    infants
    Health
    Parturition
    food fortification
    health promotion
    indigenous peoples
    monitoring
    Flour
    Health Promotion
    protective effect
    flour
    public health
    Public Health
    Diet
    Food
    diet

    Cite this

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    abstract = "Historically, neural tube defects (NTD) in Australia affected around 1 in every 1000 births; 42{\%} higher for Aboriginal births. Following firm evidence of the protective effect of periconceptional folate, health promotion activities encouraged increased folate intake through diet and supplements and limited voluntary food fortification. A 30{\%} reduction in NTD was observed in non-Aboriginal but not Aboriginal infants, widening the disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rates. Mandatory flour fortification with folic acid in 2009, led to further reductions in overall NTD, and greater reduction among Aboriginal infants, such that rates in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal infants were similar by 2010-2014. Elimination of this disparity will make a small but important contribution to the Australian government's Closing the Gap initiative to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal people. Long-term, complete, high-quality surveillance data on NTD have been of great value in monitoring trends in and evaluation of public health interventions for NTD in Australia.",
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    Folate Status and Neural Tube Defects in Aboriginal Australians : The Success of Mandatory Fortification in Reducing a Health Disparity. / D'Antoine, Heather; Bower, Carol.

    In: Current Developments in Nutrition, Vol. 3, No. 8, nzz071, 08.2019, p. 1-6.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

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