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Folic acid advisories: a public health challenge?

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  • Daniel Herrera‐Araujo

Abstract

Neural tube defects are neurological conditions affecting one in 1000 fetuses in France each year. If a fetus is affected, there is a 90% chance that the pregnancy will be terminated. Increasing folic acid intake to 400μg per day 2months before and 2months after conception reduces prevalence rates by at least 40%. In 2005, France introduced a social marketing campaign seeking to increase the intake of folic acid by to‐be‐pregnant and pregnant women through information provision. This paper sets up a quasi‐experimental setting to measure the impact of the French social marketing campaign on availability and preferences for folic acid. I combine detailed scanner data on grocery purchases with a dataset on macronutrients and micronutrients. The identification strategy exploits the variation in the usefulness of folic acid information between households: households that are pregnant or want to conceive a child use it, while those that are not pregnant do not. Results suggest evidence of a positive impact of the information campaign on folic acid household availability and preferences. A value per statistical neural tube defects case is found to be of at least 12 million. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Herrera‐Araujo, 2016. "Folic acid advisories: a public health challenge?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(9), pages 1104-1122, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:25:y:2016:i:9:p:1104-1122
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.3362
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J17 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Value of Life; Foregone Income

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