THE GENERAL PUBLIC’S KNOWLEDGE AND PERCEPTIONS OF PRECONCEPTION FOLIC ACID INTAKE FOR PREVENTION OF BIRTH DEFECTS
Background: Maternal folic acid (FA) deficiency associated with birth defects is recognized as a serious, worldwide public health concern. However, there are scarce data on the knowledge and perceptions of preconception folic acid intake for prevention of birth defects among the general public in northeast Peninsular Malaysia.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed on a random sample (n=300) of the public in northeast Peninsular Malaysia using a pre-tested questionnaire.
Results: Of the total participants, 75% was female. The mean age of participants was 33.41 years ± 10.22. Mean FA knowledge score was 14.52 ± 5.34. Knowledge of preconception FA was found to be associated with gender, marital status, and education level (p = <0.05).
Conclusion: The study highlights a need for the public to play a vital community health role in advising women of childbearing age about the importance of preconception folic acid intake in preventing birth defects.Keywords: Folic acid deficiency, public, knowledge, perceptions, birth defects, pregnancy