There are many issues confronting health development especially inareas where improper diet and food shortage occurs. One of these issues is the rise of Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) and malnutrition cases among children in the region. IDA is the shortage of red blood cells (hemoglobin) in the body to meet the normal amount which is 120 mg per liter.
This occurs when the collected iron in the liver is already consumed due to non-intake of iron-rich food in a period of time.There are many issues confronting health development especially inareas where improper diet and food shortage occurs. One of these issues is the rise of Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) and malnutrition cases among children in the region. IDA is the shortage of red blood cells (hemoglobin) in the body to meet the normal amount which is 120 mg per liter.
This occurs when the collected iron in the liver is already consumed due to non-intake of iron-rich food in a period of time.Rice remained as the staple food of Filipinos.A study research conducted by Southeast Asian Regional Center (SEARCA) commissioned by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PRRI) said that Filipinos eat an average of 119 kg of rice annually in 2009 to 2010.
This indicates that rice plays a vital role to address health issues in the country thus,this was prioritized in Research and Development Institutions (RDIs).
In line with this, RDIs have come up with several studies to improve the production and health benefit of rice. For instance, rice is being genetically modified in some research institutions in order to produce new varieties, enhance its function, and production that can cater to the demands of the population.
The emergence ofIron Rice Premix (IRP) and Iron Fortified Rice (IFR)paved the way to address health and nutrition issues plaguing the region. These are research- based products from the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) that aimed to slash the rise of anemia and malnutrition cases in the community. IFR is a blend of well-milled rice and mineral iron in rice kernel form.
IFR is the only type of rice blended with iron. Iron is one of the most important minerals in the body.As cited from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the significant function of iron is to carry oxygen in the hemoglobin or red blood cells throughout the body so cells can produce energy. Thus, it enhances body strength, activates brain performance, and boosts body resistance against sickness. Iron also helps eliminate carbon dioxide from the body. Further, the recommended level of iron in the body is classified by gender and age. Males aging from 14 to 18 are recommended with 11 mg, and aged 19 and above must have 8 mg daily intake.
The daily intakes for females aged 14 to 18, 19 to 50, and 51 and above must have 15 mg, 18 mg, and 8 mg, respectively. This indicates that females need more iron than males.
The daily intake of IFR contributes in many ways especially to pregnant and breastfeeding women. Thus, the DOST 1 is continuously promoting this technology to its target firms for production and diffusion to the grassroots. The DOST’s Iron Rice Premix (IRP) and Iron Fortified Rice (IFR) is in line with the Philippine Food Fortification Act of 2000 (R.A.8976), an act that protects and promotes the right of health for the people and instills health awareness among them.
IFR is being adopted by several firms in the region through the DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) under the leadership of Director Armando Q. Ganal. One of its successful adoptor is the Nutridense Food Manufacturing Corporation in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan owned by Mr. Racky D. Doctor.
The company continues to expand its production on IFR through a partnership with other government agencies. Aside from IFR, it has also adopted other FNRI- DOST developed food technologies namely,Rice- Monggo (RIMO) curls, and Rice- Monggo Instant Baby Food blend. These developed food technologies are available in schools, relief areas and the public. (Florde Liza L. Alida)