In a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers assessed how eggs affected the growth and development of infants when added to their diet.
For people living in areas where food is scarce, gaining adequate nutrition is a challenge. A consequence of this scarcity is stunted growth and development in children. Many essential nutrients such as protein and vitamins D and B12 are found in the common food item of eggs. A column published in The Journal of Pediatrics discussed a study where researchers provided children with one egg per day to determine the effects, if any, on their growth and development.
The study took place in Ecuador where researchers randomly assigned 86 infants between the ages of six to nine months to either the intervention group, who received one egg per day for six months or the control group, who just maintained their normal diets. Researchers also participated in weekly in-home visits where they gave participants eggs and monitored the number of eggs consumed as well as the appearance of any adverse symptoms.
The results showed that in the intervention group, the number of underweight children and growth stunting decreased by 47% and 74%, respectively. There were no allergic reactions to the eggs and compared to the control group. The intervention group also experienced a reduction in their intake of sugary foods.
The World Health Assembly is currently aiming for a 40% reduction in the prevalence of growth stunting worldwide. Since eggs are quite accessible, introducing them into the daily diet of those in resource-poor areas is a potential solution to combat poor growth and development. In the future, researchers should assess how the intervention fares when participants are responsible for obtaining eggs rather than being provided for by the researchers while continuing the same monitoring practices.
Written by Monica Naatey-Ahumah, BSc
(1) Roche, M.L. (2017). An egg a day enhances growth in resource-poor communities. The Journal of Pediatrics, 190, 287 – 290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.08.051
(2) Ruxton, C.H.S., Derbyshire, E., and Gibson, S. (2010) The nutritional properties and health benefits of eggs. Nutrition & Food Science, 40( 3), 263-279. https://doi.org/10.1108/00346651011043961