Hispanic Newborns at Higher Risk of Neural Tube Defects

First Posted: Jun 20, 2014 05:03 PM EDT

Hispanic newborns may be at an increased risk for certain neural tube defects, according to a recent report.

The findings are updated from a similar 2008 paper by the March of Dimes, a nonprofit foundation that highlights the growing number of Hispanic women who have children each year in the United States. The report found that this group has more babies each year than any other population in the country.

Unfortunately, many of these women are also more prone to giving birth prematurely or before the 37th week. This puts many of their future children at an increased risk of spina bifida and anencephaly, brain and spinal cord malformations that are a form of neural tube defects.

Many researchers believe that because corn masa flour is common staple of the Hispanic diet, some women's children in this population will be at an increased risk for certain neural tube defects because of a lack of folic acid and vitamin B in their diet. The report also found that Hispanic women are less likely to take a multivitamin than other ethnicities.

According to Dr. Edward McCabe, senior vice present and chief medical officer of the March of Dives report, the non-profit organization hopes to target efforts towards other health issues and this group, including obesity, smoking and type 2 diabetes.

"By 2050, it's projected that 30 percent of the population of women of childbearing age will be Hispanic," he said, according to WebMD. "Clearly, it's a growing population."

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