Get access

Australian survey on community knowledge and attitudes regarding the fortification of food with folic acid

Authors

  • Caron Molster,

    1. Office of Population Health Genomics, Health Policy and Clinical Reform Division, Department of Health, Perth, Western Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Carol Bower,

    1. Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, Centre for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
    2. Western Australian Birth Defects Registry, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Perth, Western Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Peter O'Leary

    Corresponding author
    1. Office of Population Health Genomics, Health Policy and Clinical Reform Division, Department of Health, Perth, Western Australia
    2. School of Women's & Infants' Health, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia
    3. School of Public Health, Division of Health Sciences, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia
    • Office of Population Health Genomics, Department of Health, PO Box 8172, Stirling Street, Perth, Western Australia 6849
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In response to the proposal that mandatory fortification be introduced in Australia to reduce the incidence of NTDs, the purpose of this study was to establish, for the adult community, baseline data on knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards the fortification of foods with folic acid.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional, Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing survey with respondents recruited randomly from the electronic version of the Western Australian telephone directory was used. One thousand members of the community aged 18 years or older were interviewed for the study.

RESULTS:

Interviews were conducted in September 2006, with a response rate of 76%. Half the respondents were aware folate is currently added to some breakfast cereals (59%) and some breads (53%), but awareness of other food types that may be voluntarily fortified with folate was much lower. Only 13% of respondents were concerned about folate being added to bread, 10% believed folate should not be added to foods, and 9% said they would avoid foods with added folate. Generally, around half the respondents were uncertain about the benefits of fortifying foods with folate and around a quarter were uncertain about any risks or concerns with this practice.

CONCLUSIONS:

The community appears no more concerned about the fortification of bread with folate than they are about other existing fortification programs in Australia, and appear more likely to support rather than oppose the fortification of foods with folate, particularly if they are informed of the benefits of such a program. Birth Defects Research (Part A) 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary