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An egg a day helps children grow - science

A new study found that eggs reduced stunting in children by 47%.

Image: Shutterstock/A3pfamily

EGGS CAN SIGNIFICANTLY increase growth in young children, according to a new study.

The study found that eggs significantly increased growth and reduced stunting by 47% in young children.

Under a controlled trial in Ecuador in 2015, children ages six to nine months were randomly assigned to be given one egg per day for six months.

They were compared to a control group, which did not receive eggs.

The children that received eggs were found to be taller and heavier than the children that did not receive the eggs.

Both the yolk and the white of an egg are rich in nutrients – full of proteins, vitamins and minerals. The yolk contains cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids.

Over half the protein of an egg comes from the egg white. The whites are a source of vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper.

“[Eggs] are a good source of nutrients for growth and development in young children,” the lead author of the study, Lora Iannotti, said.

Eggs have the potential to contribute to reduced growth stunting around the world.

The results showed a reduced prevalence of stunting in children by 47% and underweight by 74%.

Children in the treatment group had a higher dietary intake of eggs and reduced intake of sugar-sweetened foods compared to the controlled group.

“We were surprised by just how effective this intervention proved to be,” Iannotti said.

“Our study carefully monitored allergic reactions to eggs, yet no incidents were observed or reported by caregivers during the weekly home visits,” she said.

Eggs are a complete food, safely packaged and arguably more accessible in resource-poor populations than other complementary foods, specifically fortified foods.

“Eggs seem to be a viable and recommended source of nutrition for children in developing countries.”

The study ‘Eggs in Complementary Feeding and Growth’ has been published online in the Pediatrics journal.

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