The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) held an exhibit promoting its ongoing studies on healthier rice at the Diamond Convention of the Nutritionists-Dieticians Association of the Philippines (NDAP) on 17-19 February at the Manila Hotel. The convention was attended by approximately 1,000 nutritionists and dieticians.
IRRI’s exhibit featured research on Golden Rice, high-iron rice, and rice with low glycemic index. Healthier rice-based diet promoted by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) was also featured at NDAP.
Hidden hunger, or micronutrient deficiency, is a major public health problem in many developing countries. The lack of essential vitamins and minerals (e.g. vitamin A, zinc, iron, iodine) in the diet may cause stunting, poor night vision, blindness, diarrhea or frequent illness in children. However, there is concurrent spike in cases of overnutrition, which results in obesity and type-2 diabetes. In the Philippines alone, 7.9% of the population suffers from undernourishment while 13% are afflicted with diabetes. Ending the double burden of undernutrition and overnutrition requires a number of targeted solutions from various sectors. The healthier rice research at IRRI can make rice more than a mere staple. They can be potential tools for helping solve public health and malnutrition problems.
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