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OBJECTIVE: To describe serum folate status and the socio-demographic correlates of serum folate status in a national sample of women aged 26-36 years in Australia, 2004-2006. METHODS: Stored serum samples from 1,046 women, collected as part of the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health study, were analysed for serum folate. RESULTS: Median (IQR) serum folate was 27.1 nmol/L (18.8-35.0 nmol/L) with only 7.0% of samples below 11 nmol/L. Serum folate was positively associated with supplement use, educational level, occupational status and urban dwelling. CONCLUSIONS: In this population-based sample, most women had folate levels in the normal range with few having low serum folate. Those of lower socioeconomic position or with poorer health behaviours had lower folate levels, though most were still within the normal range. IMPLICATIONS: In the absence of comprehensive national survey data on the folate status of women of child-bearing age, these data provide a valuable baseline for evaluating the impact of mandatory folic acid fortification in Australia, which commenced in 2009. It is likely that mandatory fortification of the food supply with folic acid will reduce the disparities in folate status between socioeconomic groups and in people with poorer health behaviours.

Original publication




Journal article


Aust N Z J Public Health

Publication Date





421 - 426


Adult, Australia, Cohort Studies, Dietary Supplements, Female, Folic Acid, Folic Acid Deficiency, Food, Fortified, Health Surveys, Humans, Life Style, Residence Characteristics, Rural Population, Smoking, Socioeconomic Factors, Urban Population, Young Adult