Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 403–405 | Cite as

Pilot Study of Socioeconomic Class, Nutrition and Birth Defects in Spain

  • Panta Rouhani
  • Lora E. Fleming
  • Jaime Frías
  • María Luisa Martínez-Frías
  • Eva Bermejo
  • Jacobo Mendioroz
Original Paper


Research has indicated that the appropriate intake of folic acid, a B vitamin, before and during early pregnancy has been shown to prevent 50–70% of neural-tube defects. Increased NTD incidence has long been reported to occur more frequently among women of lower socioeconomic (SES). Since consumption of the folate-rich Mediterranean diet in Spain does not vary by socio-economic status (SES), we hypothesized that there would be no social class effect on NTD occurrence. Using data from a Spanish hospital-based birth defects registry, we studied the risk of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) in 980 cases and 774 controls between 1980 and 2003. Our analysis showed that the risk of NTDs did not vary by SES. This finding suggests that increased access to folate and nutrition education might benefit women of lower SES in the US.


Neural tube defects Nutrition Mediterranean diet Socioeconomic status Birth defects Folic acid Folate 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Panta Rouhani
    • 1
  • Lora E. Fleming
    • 1
  • Jaime Frías
    • 2
  • María Luisa Martínez-Frías
    • 3
    • 4
  • Eva Bermejo
    • 3
  • Jacobo Mendioroz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology & Public HealthUniversity of Miami Miller School of MedicineMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of South Florida College of MedicineTampaUSA
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación sobre Anomalías Congénitas (CIAC), Instituto de Salud Carlos IIIMinisterio de Sanidad y ConsumoMadridSpain
  4. 4.Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de MedicinaUniversidad ComplutenseMadridSpain

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