Nutrition Research Gives Thumbs Up to Infant Rice Cereal

Smiling baby in high chair wearing pink bib with hand on package of infant rice cereal
Oh so...happy and healthy
Mar 12, 2020
ARLINGTON, VA – Results from a recent research project examining nutrition benefits of rice cereal consumption for infants make the strong case for inclusion of baby cereal in the diets of infants and toddlers.  

The study, “Nutrient intake, introduction of baby cereals and other complementary foods in the diets of infants and toddlers from birth to 23 months of age,” reviewed the reported intake of rice baby cereal, non-rice baby cereal, and non-baby cereal consumers using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).  

The NHANES data suggests that infants who consumed baby cereal had greater consumption of nutrients from 0 to 23 months of age.  The study also found that baby cereal consumers, both rice and non-rice, had better intake for nutrients such as iron and calcium.  In addition, baby cereal consumers, again both rice and non-rice, had lower intakes of cheese, pizza, sandwiches, cured meats/poultry, desserts, fats, and oils.

“The findings from this research are significant for the industry as they demonstrate consumption of rice baby cereal in the 0-24-month population is linked to better nutrient intake which leads to better overall health and lower risk of disease,” said Byron Holmes, Arkansas rice farmer and chair of the USA Rice Nutrition Subcommittee.  “This science-based study bolsters the industry’s claim that rice cereal is a nutritious option for infants, and the findings are being well received by consumers and the media.”

The study results have been picked up by more than 145 media outlets including Yahoo! Finance, Market Place, and New Food Magazine, and received more than 149 million positive impressions within a 24-hour period.

This project was undertaken in advance of the 2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans to secure rice’s position as a valued and important nutrition source for infants.  It was supported and funded by The Rice Foundation, with additional resources provided by the Arkansas Rice Research & Promotion Board, the Louisiana Rice Research Board, and the Mississippi Rice Research Board; and was published in the March edition of AIMS Public Health Journal.  

The research has been shared with trade and consumer media, and will be sent to all members of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee by both USA Rice and the AIMS Public Health Journal.