Letter: No class is immune

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The Independent Culture
No class is immune

Sir: Thank you for carrying Annabel Ferriman's enlightening piece on the fortification of flour with folic acid ("Why we need flour power", 1 December). It is an unfashionable subject but vital to help to prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects in unborn babies.

But we must take issue with the inference that spina bifida is selective by socio-economic grouping, that "women most at risk are those whose diet lacks natural vitamins or the ill-educated who are least likely to act on public health information campaigns".

We know as many educated, middle-class mothers as we do those from less affluent backgrounds. Some choose not to take folic acid supplements; some have never taken on board the information from the Health Education Authority campaign, and neither have their GPs. Some, of course, believe, "It'll never happen to me." Many become pregnant by accident.

That is why around one thousand pregnancies a year are still affected by spina bifida in the UK.


Senior Adviser, Health and Policy

Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus