Incidence of Neural Tube Defects among Hispanic Individuals of Childbearing in a Rural Southwestern Wisconsin County

  • Bryce Dorff University of Minnesota - Public Health Student


Neural tube defects are a heavily researched and mostly preventable birth defect. However, the odds of neural tube defects are higher for Hispanic fetuses. In a rural southwestern Wisconsin county they were ten times higher than the national average of 6 per 10,000 births. Many factors contribute to increased neural tube defect odds, though fortifying foods with folic acid which was mandated for flour-based products in 1998, reduced incidence of neural tube defects across the nation by 35%. However, the rate of neural defects for Hispanic fetuses after the 1998 mandate did not decrease in the same rate as White fetuses. Because corn-based products may constitute a large proportion of Hispanic diets, and not flour-based products, many Hispanic individuals do not receive the same public health primary prevention effort in the folic acid fortification mandate. With data highlighting the stark inequities in birthing outcomes, legislators have a unique opportunity to join the public health movement toward equity and justice for all birthing persons by adding corn-based products in the fortification mandate.

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