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NATIONAL COUNCIL ON FOLIC ACID

Who We Are

The National Council on Folic Acid (NCFA) is a coalition of national organizations and associations, state folic acid councils and government agencies whose mission is to improve health by promoting the benefits and consumption of folic acid.

Strategies

NCFA works to empower and educate its members. The primary audience of NCFA is its members.  NCFA provides tools for member use in reaching everyone who would benefit from folic acid.  NCFA’s operating procedures provide guidance for the development of these tools and strategies.

History

In 1992, the United States Public Health Service recommended that all women of childbearing years should take 400 micrograms (0.4 mg) of folic acid daily to prevent having a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect. An educational campaign was needed to educate the public about the importance of folic acid.
NCFA was created in 1998 in response to that need. Our founding members were the:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • March of Dimes
  • Spina Bifida Association

Our members work in a variety of ways to achieve our mission. They educate through:

  • Partnerships that provide free folic acid supplements
  • Telephone hotlines
  • Educational programs for providers
  • Brochures and fact sheets
  • Exhibits at national health care conferences
  • Web sites, bulletins and e-mail news

Every day, our members come up with more innovative and creative ways to reach people. The work is paying off. Survey results indicate that women’s awareness of folic acid has grown from 52% in 1995 to almost 80% in 2004. The percentage of women who know that folic acid can prevent birth defects has risen from 4% to 24%. The amount of women who take folic acid daily has grown from 28% to 40%. Data from the March of Dimes Gallup Survey, 2004.

Emerging research indicates that folic acid is not only a benefit for women of childbearing years, but for everyone. It may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as colon, cervical and breast cancer. It may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

NCFA continues to build awareness of the benefits of folic acid, using a variety of creative methods to enable our members to reach health care providers, policymakers and consumers. We continue our work toward making folic acid education part of the standard of health care.