Folic Acid is a Healthy Habit
The CDC recommends that all women of reproductive age consume 400 mcg of folic acid, and pregnant women consume 600 mcg, each day to prevent two types of neural tube defects. During Folic Acid Awareness Week, observed January 3-9, 2021 (as well as the entire month for National Birth Defects Prevention Month), WIC staff are encouraged to take the opportunity to enhance their efforts to educate moms about the role folic acid plays in preventing congenital disabilities, and how their WIC food packages include folic acid-rich foods.
The legumes, whole grains, fruits (particularly citrus), vegetables (especially asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and dark leafy greens), and breakfast cereals available to participants through the WIC program are good sources of folic acid, a nutrient that's especially important for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant.
Staff Learning and Education Resources
WIC staff can brush up on folic acid basics and find educational resources via Eye on Nutrition: Folate and Folic Acid. Among the education materials available are facts sheets, an infographic, videos, podcasts, an interactive quiz and more! Many resources are available in Spanish.
Be sure to check out folic acid-rich recipes WIC staff have shared with us.
Due to the important role that folic acid plays in preventing birth defects, WIC staff can use these promotional resources to raise awareness of the importance of this topic.
In conjunction with CDC, AAP, state health departments, and other entities, the National Birth Defects Prevention Network created a toolkit for a number of communication platforms that offers:
- videos (including one in Spanish)
- themed resources related to each of the 5 Tips for Preventing Birth Defects (for folic acid-specific materials, see page 3)
- a fact sheet for dads
- graphics and social media ideas (including sample posts)
- a proclamation that can be tailored to your state
- a sample news release
- resources to help evaluate your social media reach
- materials adapted for local public health agencies
Family Support and Advocacy
- At HealthyChildren.Org, parents can find general information related to child health as well as more specific guidance on How Chronic Illness or Disability Affects a Family.
- Families can complete the online My Family Health Portrait family history tool provided on the Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative and share with their physician. Paper copies of the tool, also in Spanish, can be found by following the Learn More About My Family Health Portrait link.
HHS, CDC, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
HHS, Office on Women's Health