Estimation of serum and erythrocyte folate concentrations in the New Zealand adult population within a background of voluntary folic acid fortification.
Bradbury KE., Williams SM., Mann JI., Brown RC., Parnell W., Skeaff CM.
National data on the blood folate status of New Zealand adults is lacking. The objective of this study was to describe the blood folate status and examine the predictors of blood folate status in a national sample of adults from New Zealand, a country with voluntary folic acid fortification. The 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey was a nationwide multistage systematic random cross-sectional survey. Serum and erythrocyte folate concentrations were measured by microbiologic assay. The survey included 4721 participants aged ≥15 y, 3359 of whom provided a nonfasting blood sample. Biochemical folate status was measured in 3277 participants. The median serum and erythrocyte folate concentrations were 23 and 809 nmol/L, respectively. The prevalence of biochemical folate deficiency, defined as plasma folate <6.8 nmol/L or erythrocyte folate <305 nmol/L, was 2%. Having breakfast daily compared with never eating breakfast was associated with 53% higher serum and 25% higher erythrocyte folate concentrations; consumers of fortified yeast extract spread had 17% higher serum and 14% higher erythrocyte folate concentrations than nonconsumers; daily users of folate-containing supplements compared with nonusers had 48% higher serum and 28% higher erythrocyte folate concentrations. The prevalence of biochemical folate deficiency in New Zealand adults is low. Participants who ate breakfast more frequently, consumed folate-fortified yeast, or used a daily folate supplement had higher blood folate concentrations.