Intake and blood concentrations of folate and their association with health-related behaviors in Korean college students

Academic Article


  • The purpose of this study is to assess folate intake, and serum and red blood cell (RBC) folate concentrations, and investigate the association between folate status and health-related behaviors among Korean college students. A total of 169 students, aged between 18 and 27 years, participated in this study. Dietary intake data were collected by trained interviewers using a 24-hour recall method for three non-consecutive days in 2009. Information on health-related behaviors was obtained by a self-administered questionnaire. Serum and RBC folate concentrations were measured by microbiological assay. The average intakes of folate were 456 μgDFE and 347 μgDFE in male and female students, respectively. While the average serum folate concentration was significantly lower in male students (8.9 ng/mL) compared to female students (12.5 ng/mL), RBC concentrations were not significantly different between male (398.6 ng/mL) and female students (405.3 ng/mL). In male students, low serum folate concentrations were associated with total folate intake less than the Estimated Average Requirement, non-use of folic acid supplements, smoking, alcohol drinking at least once a week and low physical activity. In female students, low serum folate concentrations were associated with smoking and alcohol drinking at least two drinks at a time and BMI ≥ 25. Alcohol drinking and low physical activity were also associated with low RBC folate concentrations in both male and female students. In order to improve folate nutritional status of college students, the practice of desirable health-related behaviors, such as non-smoking, moderate alcohol drinking, regular physical activity, and maintenance of healthy BMI should be encouraged along with consumption of folate-rich foods and supplements. © 2013 The Korean Nutrition Society and the Korean Society of Community Nutrition.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jang HB; Han YH; Piyathilake CJ; Kim H; Hyun T
  • Start Page

  • 216
  • End Page

  • 223
  • Volume

  • 7
  • Issue

  • 3