Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Preconceptional folic acid supplement use in Lebanon

H Tamima1 c1, G Harrisona2, M Atouia3, G Mumtaza4, F El-Kaka3, M Seouda5, K Yunisa4 and for the National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal Network (NCPNN)

a1 School of Kinesiology & Health Sciences, York University, Bethune College, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M3J 1P3

a2 School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

a3 Department of Health Behavior & Education, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon

a4 Department of Pediatrics, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon

a5 Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon

Abstract

Objective The objective of the present study was to assess the prevalence and determinants of preconceptional folic acid supplement use among pregnant women in Lebanon.

Design/setting/subjects The study was a descriptive epidemiological study. Analysis was performed on 5280 deliveries admitted to twelve member hospitals of the National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal Network during the period September 2003–January 2005. Information on folic acid intake and maternal and neonatal characteristics were obtained from obstetric charts along with direct interviews performed by trained personnel. Logistic regression was performed to determine the predictors of preconceptional folic acid use.

Results The overall use of preconceptional folic acid supplementation was 14·0 % (18·6 % in urban hospitals v. 2·7 % in rural hospitals). Higher socio-economic status, lower parity and having a history of previous spontaneous abortions were significantly associated with preconceptional folic acid use.

Conclusion Our study shows that Lebanon currently has a low rate of preconceptional folic acid supplement use. Intervention through the means of awareness campaigns needs to be implemented on a national level.

(Received October 03 2007)

(Accepted April 03 2008)

Correspondence

c1 Corresponding author: Email htamim@yorku.ca

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