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This project aimed to provide baseline information on the intake of dietary folate and levels of folate and vitamin B12 in the blood in a sample of the West Australian Aboriginal population, prior to the introduction of fortification.
The participants were recruited from Broome, Kalgoorlie and Perth in collaboration with Aboriginal community controlled health services (ACCHS):
Three to five years after mandatory fortification was instituted, a second round of sampling will be done and compared with the baseline measures obtained from this current study. That evaluation will show the extent to which mandatory fortification has reached the WA Aboriginal population. If mandatory fortification does not reach the desired levels, further health promotion campaigns can be targeted at these audiences and where necessary methods of improving access to fortified foods in these subgroups can be developed.
The study found that some Aboriginal women (10%) and Aboriginal men (265) have low levels of folate in their red blood cells. 57% of women and 53% of men ate shop-bought bread every day. With the new government regulation of adding folic acid to wheat flour to make bread, it is hoped that the number of Aboriginal babies born with neural tube defect will decrease.
Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council abstract
Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council (KAMSC)
12 Napier Terrace
PO Box 1377
Broome WA 6725
Ph: (08) 9194 3200
Fax: (08) 9192 2500