This legislation aims to build upon the work of health institutions such as Children’s Hospital Boston Center for Young Women’s Health, Fenway Health Center, and Whittier Health Center, all other centers, programs and healthcare facilities. Folic acid is a key element of healthy diets in young girls and women; its daily consumption has been linked to reducing the incidence of neural tube defects, cleft palates, congenital heart defects, prematurity, and low birth weight in newborns. It is imperative that the Commonwealth recognize the importance of folic acid in girls’ and women’s diets, and assist health institutions in continuing their health and wellness advocacy programs around its consumption. This is especially true given the high incidence of premature births and low birth weight among women of color.
Taking folic acid daily is recommended for all people, especially for women in their childbearing years. Folic Acid when taken before pregnancy and in the early weeks of pregnancy can reduce the risk of neural tube defects by 70%. For all women and men: In the body, folic acid:
•May prevent heart disease and certain types of cancers
•May protect against depression and decline in cognitive functioning
•Is necessary for cell division and replication
•Helps in the formation of mature red blood cells and prevents a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia
•Helps maintain heart health by lowering levels of homocysteine, a compound known to increase risk of cardiovascular complications
For moms-to-be: In the body, folic acid:
•Helps prevent birth defects
•Helps reduce risk of high blood pressure in pregnancy
•Helps prevent low birth weight
•Helps reduce risk of miscarriage
In recognizing the importance of folic acid in the diets of women and girls, research suggest that consumption of multivitamins containing folic acid may also help prevent many of the health issues listed. We hope that by creating an awareness program in all of our areas that cover young women and women health, wellness and education of such.
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