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Awareness and knowledge of the use and benefits of folic acid supplements in women in the United Arab Emirates
The use of folic acid supplements prior to, and during, the first months of pregnancy significantly reduces the risk of fetal neural tube defects (NTDs). The aim of this study was to ascertain the awareness and knowledge of the benefits and use of preconception folic acid supplements among Emirati women. This was a cross-sectional study carried out among Emirati women of child-bearing age who were resident in the Al Ain District, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Data were collected from October 2011 until March 2012. A convenience sample of women was invited to participate in this study and asked to fill out a questionnaire that requested details of their age, level of education, internet use, marital status, employment and knowledge and attitude towards the use, benefits and administration of folic acid. The collected data were subjected to statistical analysis using SPSS (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). The total number of women included in this study was 205, and only 85 women (41.5%) revealed that they were aware of the importance of preconception folic acid. Only 23 women (11.2%) thought that folic acid should be taken before pregnancy. Women with a higher level of education and those >31 years old had a greater knowledge regarding the time of administration of folic acid than women with lower level of education and those <31 years old. The awareness and knowledge of the benefits and use of folic acid supplements among Emirati women remains low and further efforts are required to educate women of these supplements.
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