Improved nutrition for Indian children

Many children in India arrive at school every morning with their bellies empty, yesterday’s dinner likely the last meal they consumed. Public-sector meal programs often provide these students with the most substantial food they will eat all day. Even so, their diets lack important nutrients that their bodies need to develop.

For years, PATH has worked with partners to pack an added boost of vitamins and minerals into school lunches using PATH-developed Ultra Rice® grains. These rice-shaped grains, made from fortified rice flour and stabilizing ingredients, hold big potential for improving children’s nutrition and development. Efficacy trials in Latin America and Asia have demonstrated the health impact of Ultra Rice in multiple locations—particularly India—where rice is a staple food.

In 2008, PATH collaborated with a local manufacturer in India to produce Ultra Rice and establish a robust supply. We also began studying approaches to keeping costs low and preserving the grains’ micronutrient content under different scenarios of preparation, transport, and storage. We will soon present our findings to state-level decision-makers to encourage integration of Ultra Rice into midday meal programs throughout India—potentially providing poor children with half of their recommended daily iron allowance and a greater chance for healthy development.

Partners

Adorella Alimentos Ltda

Center for Public Nutrition and Development, Government of China

Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology

Naandi Foundation

Swagat Food Products (P) Ltd.

Union de Arroceros, S.A.

University of Toronto

Ultra Rice is a registered trademark in the United States of Bon Dente International, Inc.

Photo: PATH/Satvir Malhotra.

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Two young Indian children laughing
Integration of Ultra Rice fortified grains into lunch programs in India may soon provide poor children with half of their recommended daily iron allowance—and a greater chance for healthy development.

This project received innovation funding at a critical point in its development.