If you're an Angeleno who listens to 103.5 Love Songs On the Coast as much as I do (Karen Sharp, hollah!), you may be lead to believe that 'love is all we need'...or 'love will keep us alive'...not true turns out. Love is NOT the only thing that keeps us alive, or even healthy for that matter. Especially for women, regardless of race, creed, or musical taste, a daily intake of folic acid is a necessity, particularly during pregnancy.
Dr. Michelle A. Bholat, Latina family physician at UCLA, has contributed her opinion to the LA Times article, "Folic Acid Use Declines Among Latinas" that reveals that Latina women are not getting enough folic acid. According to the article, despite a decade-spanning public health effort to raise awareness among white, black, and Asian women of childbearing age, studies show an increase in folic acid intake among these women, but a decline in consumption among Latinas who birth more than 50% of babies in the state of California.
Dr. Bholat expresses that there should be concern over these findings. She offers that a possible explanation may be cultural. A traditional view among Mexican women is that "when you are pregnant, you don't take anything into your body, even a little pill that the doctors give you." (LA Times)
Failing to consume the recommended amount of folic acid - 400 micrograms for young women - can have unfortunate results, including infants born with neural tube defects.
Bottom line: love is great. But pre-natal care and proper diet are key in ensuring the health of newborn babies. I think we should all be writing letters to Lionel Ritchie about this. Because I personally would sing along to "All Night Folic Acid"..."Folic Acid Lover"..."Easy Like Folic Acid"...I could really do this all day...you get the point.
Dr. Bholat is Vice Chair of Family Medicine at Les Kelley Family Health Center and UCLA Family Medicine Center. She speaks both English and Spanish.