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How is the process of setting micronutrients recommendations reflected in nutrition policies in Poland? The case study of folate

Ewa Sicińska 1,  
Department of Human Nutrition, Warsaw University of Life Sciences-SGGW, Warsaw, Poland
The National Food and Nutrition Institute, Warsaw, Poland
Food Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, School of Psychology, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
[b]Introduction and objective. [/b]Ensuring the adequate intake of micronutrients by populations is an important aspect of public health. This study aims to elucidate the process of setting nutrition recommendations and the development of subsequent policies associated with micronutrients in Poland by using the case study of folate. [b]Materials and method. T[/b]he study was based on 13 interviews conducted between October 2010 – February 2011, and desk research comprising a review of the associated scientific literature and relevant documents, such as scientific opinions and reports of the meetings of scientific committees. The interviews were conducted within the EURRECA (EURopean micronutrient RECommendations Aligned) Network of Excellence in the frame of the European Union’s 6th Framework Programme. [b]Results.[/b] Since 1997, the Experts Group of the Ministry of Health recommended that all women of childbearing age should consume folic acid as a supplement to prevent neural tube defects in their offspring. The fortification of foodstuffs with folic acid is not obligatory. This study describes the revision of the folate nutrient recommendation and the process by which strategies to increase the intake of this vitamin by the Polish population were identified. The institution responsible for the choice and implementation of folate policy is the Ministry of Health and the National Food and Nutrition Institute is responsible for setting/updating the nutrient recommendations. [b]Conclusions. [/b]The current Polish nutrition recommendations for folate are consistent with the levels set by most other countries. The constant improvement of nutritional knowledge on folate among consumers, especially young women, is necessary.