Council two years later. Intervention projects were also initiated to promote FA supplementation for the prevention of birth defects. Six high-risk provinces were targeted with behavioral change communication (BCC) for women of reproductive age and to increase FA coverage. Still, 2003–04 survey data illustrated a persistent challenge. In the 1st trimester of pregnancy, plasma folate concentrations of women in the high-risk Shanxi Province were only one third those of women in the lower-risk province of Jiangsu. Roughly half of Shanxi women were folate deficient (< 10.5 nmol/L). Moreover, less than one third of pregnant women in urban Shanxi Province took FA supplements; this figure dropped to fewer than one in ten among rural women. In contrast, supplement usage exceeded 60% in both urban and rural areas of Jiangsu.
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