Thursday, 20th September 2018
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Young Irish women are three times as likely to check their smartphone in the morning as they are to take a folic acid tablet according to new research from safefood as part of its campaign reminding women to include folic acid as part of their morning routine. More than 80% of women who responded to the survey check their phone/social media as part of their morning routine yet only 25% of womenÇ take a folic acid tablet.

Dr Marian O’Reilly Chief Specialist in Nutrition with safefood said, “It’s great to see that over 70% of Irish women report starting their day with a healthy breakfast and 95% brush their teeth every morning. What we want women to do is to take on a new healthy habit – take a daily 400microgram folic acid supplement - it’s even easier than brushing your teeth and takes only seconds to do. Folic acid prevents most neural tube defects like spina bifida in the first few weeks of pregnancy at a time when most women are unaware they’re pregnant. With 50% of all pregnancies unplanned, taking folic every morning gets you into a healthy habit, even if a baby is the last thing on your mind.”

The research also found that nearly one quarter of women spend €420 a year on beauty and skincare products, with 4 out of 10 spending up to €240. With some folic acid tablets costing less than 1c per day or just €1.80 for a year’s supply?, this is one essential supplement that won’t eat into women’s health & beauty budgets.

Dr. Aileen McGloin, Communications Manager, Digital and Health at safefood said, “Almost half (45%) the women in our survey said the best way to create a new healthy habit is to be prepared. With folic acid, keep it near your toothbrush, beside your bed or somewhere that will remind you to take it as part of your morning routine. Setting a reminder on your phone (15%) or committing to a new habit (16%) were also mentioned by women as successful ways to create a new habit.”

The safefood campaign is reminding women to take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement every day because women cannot receive the amount of folic acid they need through food alone, even with fortified foods as part of their diet. Taking a daily folic acid supplement? can potentially prevent two thirds of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) like spina bifida from occurring. At present, Ireland has the highest rate* of babies born with spina bifida in the EU

You can find more information about the safefood campaign in your local pharmacy or by using the hashtag #folicfacts or visiting


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