WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. and WAYNE, N.J., March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Vanessa Minnillo is making it a priority to share an important public health message with women nationwide. Minnillo is working with March of Dimes® and Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals to help educate all women of reproductive age about the importance of folate and folic acid through a national educational campaign called Girlfriends for Folate (www.GirlfriendsforFolate.com). DailyCandy.com, the popular and trendy online resource for women, has also committed to engaging its extensive membership of women to help spread the word about daily folate supplementation.
Folate, a B vitamin (synthetically available as folic acid), helps regenerate cells. When taken before pregnancy and during the early months of pregnancy, it helps reduce the risk of serious birth defects of the spine or brain, also known as neural tube defects (NTDs).(1) March of Dimes® recommends that all women of reproductive age supplement their diet with at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily.(2) Further, an objective of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' (HHS) Healthy People 2020 national initiative is to increase the proportion of women of childbearing potential with intake of at least 400 mcg of folic acid from fortified foods or dietary supplements – an objective which was not met in 2010.(3) The launch of Girlfriends for Folate marks a shared commitment on behalf of Minnillo, DailyCandy.com, March of Dimes® and Bayer to help the HHS reach this goal.
"I had heard about folate before and knew it was important for women, but I wasn't aware that it was recommended for all women of reproductive age," said Minnillo. "I'm taking action now by ensuring I get the recommended amount of folate in my diet."
Many women lack a basic understanding of folate and are not aware of its benefits. A new omnibus survey(4) of 643 American wom