Red cell folate and predicted neural tube defect rate in three Asian cities

Timothy J. Green, C. Murray Skeaff, Bernard J. Venn, Jennifer E.P. Rockell, Joanne M. Todd, Geok L. Khor, Peng Loh Su, G. Duraisamy, Siti Muslimatun, Rina Agustina, Xu Ling, Xiaoping Xing

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Periconceptional folic acid reduces neural tube defect (NTD) risk. Red blood cell folate concentration is inversely associated with NTD risk. In many countries there is a lack of information on NTD rates. Red cell folate status in women of childbearing age may be a surrogate for NTD rates and may be helpful in identifying countries or regions most likely to benefit from improved folate status. Objective: To predict NTD rates using red cell folate concentrations in women of childbearing age living in three Asian cities Design: Cross-sectional convenience samples of non-pregnant women living in Beijing (n=220), Kuala Lumpur (n=389), and Jakarta (n=129). Results: Red cell folate concentrations were highest (p<0.001) in women from Jakarta at 872 nmol/L (95% CI; 833, 910) followed by Kuala Lumpur at 674 nmol/L (95% CI: 644, 704) and lowest in Beijing at 563 nmol/L (95% CI: 524, 601). Accordingly, predicted NTD rates were highest in Beijing at 30/10000 (95% CI: 27, 33), followed by Kuala Lumpur at 24/10000 (95% CI: 22, 25), and lowest in Jakarta at 15/10000 (95% CI: 14, 15). Conclusion: Our red blood cell folate data suggests that of the three cities improving the folate status of women in Beijing would have the greatest impact on NTD rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-273
Number of pages5
JournalAsia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Asia
  • Fortification
  • NTD
  • Red cell folate
  • Women


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