Lisa A Quinn, Sharon J. Thompson and Karen A. Lumia
Gannon University, USA
Lisa A Quinn has completed her PhD in Health Education in 2007 from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. She is an Associate Professor of Nursing and Graduate Advisor to nurse practitioner students at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The initial CDC recommendation specific to folic acid was made in 1992. Following decades of intense scrutiny on the relationship between vitamin intake and neural tube defects, the US Public Health Service made the following recommendation: “All women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume 400 cg of folic acid per day; for the purpose of reducing the risk of having a pregnancy affected with spina bifida and other neural tube defects”. Despite increased media campaigns and ongoing educational programs, many women still do not begin taking a folic acid supplement prior to conception. Similar to other relationships between health knowledge and health behavior, there is a gap between awareness of the importance of folic acid supplementation and folic acid use. The purpose of this quantitative, descriptive study conducted in 2007 was to determine among women of childbearing age, whether or not the variables specific to the theory of planned behavior- attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control- explain folic acid use above and beyond use that is explained by folic acid knowledge and pregnancy status. The childbearing years make up a significant portion of a woman’s life. A message of daily multivitamin intake for all women initiated by health care providers and reinforced by people in the woman’s support system may be one such strategy. Other strategies supported by this research include identifying creative ways to change a woman’s attitude about multivitamin use.