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Published on Nov 7, 2013
Hidden hunger, or micronutrient deficiency, occurs when people don't get enough vitamins and minerals in their diet. Two billion people suffer from one or more micronutrient deficiencies and women and children are most at risk.
Rice is the staple food eaten by more than half of the world's population, yet it lacks many important micronutrients, so people who rely heavily on rice are susceptible to hidden hunger. The impact of hidden hunger on people's health is very real. It can result in more frequent and severe illness and complications during pregnancy, childbirth, infancy, and childhood.
Improving the nutritional composition of rice is one way to help people get more micronutrients into their diet easily. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI; http://irri.org) is developing healthier rice varieties with more iron, zinc, and beta carotene (a source of vitamin A) to help reduce hidden hunger.