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USA Rice Federation Partners with National Council on Folic Acid to Promote National Folic Acid Awareness Week
Date:1/5/2009

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Just in time for National Folic Acid Awareness Week (January 5-11) and January's Birth Defects Prevention Month, USA Rice Federation has teamed up with the National Council on Folic Acid (NCFA) to help spread the word about the importance of folic acid for good health, and to help Americans identify simple steps to boost their intake, such as consuming enriched rice.

Research shows that folic acid, a form of the water-soluble B-vitamin folate found in fortified foods and supplements, offers protection against birth defects, heart disease, certain cancers and Alzheimer's disease. Yet many Americans, including one in three women, fall short of the 400 micrograms recommended for daily intake by the US Public Health Service.

"We are excited to be working with the National Council on Folic Acid to help to increase awareness about the importance of folic acid, and to offer rice as a nutritious, cost-effective, and tasty way to help adults and children meet recommended intakes," says Anne Banville, vice president of domestic promotion, USA Rice Federation, a member organization of the NCFA. "NCFA's programs ensure that people know the many benefits folic acid can offer throughout the life cycle... We hope that the information we provide about the nutritious goodness of rice as a meal-time solution will help Americans meet their needs of this important vitamin."

Just 1 cup of cooked enriched rice delivers 92 of the daily recommended 400 micrograms, or 23% of the Daily Value (DV). Rice, the grain that nourishes half of the world's population, also contributes over 15 essential nutrients to the diet, and is especially rich in B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, selenium (brown), fiber (brown) and iron.

"As a coalition committed to improve health by promoting folic acid, we are pleased to have the support of the USA Rice Federation," says Adriane K. Griffen, MPH, CHES, Immediate Past Chair, National Council on Folic Acid. "We look forward to working with USA Rice to help achieve our goal of reducing folic acid preventable birth defects by recommending that women of childbearing age take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily, from fortified foods and/or supplements, in addition to consuming food folate from a varied diet."

Folic acid is important at all ages, and is especially important during times of growth because of its role in making and maintaining new cells. Taking folic acid before pregnancy reduces the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine, called neural tube defects, by up to 70%. In addition to its role in healthy pregnancy outcomes, folic acid has been shown to play a role in disease protection and healthy aging. Benefits include protection against birth defects, heart disease, and Alzheimer's disease.

The National Council on Folic Acid (NCFA) is a partnership of national organizations and associations, state folic acid councils and government agencies whose mission is to improve health by promoting the benefits and consumption of folic acid.

The USA Rice Federation is the national advocate for all segments of the rice industry, conducting programs to build awareness and usage of U.S.-grown rice. Nearly 85% of the rice that is consumed in the U.S. is grown here. Farmers in Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Missouri produce some 19 billion pounds annually of high-quality short, medium and long grain rice, as well as specialty rices including jasmine, basmati, arborio, red aromatic and black japonica, among others.

For more rice recipes and information, visit www.usarice.com.

For information on folic acid, visit www.folicacidinfo.org.

    CONTACT:  Melissa McAllister                    Anne Banville
              Pollock Communications                USA Rice Federation
              646-277-8711                          703-236-1465
              mmcallister@pollock-pr.com            abanville@usarice.com


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SOURCE USA Rice Federation
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