ST. LOUIS — Eggs are an essential dietary staple for young children that can help foster healthy developmental growth, a new study finds.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis conducted an experiment with infants between six and nine months old in Ecuador, in which some randomly-selected participants were instructed to eat an egg a day over a period of six months, while others were part of a control group that did not eat any eggs.
The group of infants who consumed eggs daily were later found to be 47 percent less likely to experience stunting— i.e., slow height development— and 74 percent less likely to be underweight than children in the control group.
“We were surprised by just how effective this intervention proved to be,” comments lead researcher Lora Iannotti in a university press release. “The size of the effect was 0.63 compared to the 0.39 global average.”
It should also be mentioned that levels of sugar consumption were constrained amongst participants in the test group, perhaps skewing the results.
Nevertheless, this study presents a solution to malnutrition in areas that lack access to proper nourishment, as eggs not only offer a balanced meal that’s easy to find, but one often comes in safe packaging.
“Our study carefully monitored allergic reactions to eggs, yet no incidents were observed or reported by caregivers during the weekly home visits,” adds Iannotti. “Eggs seem to be a viable and recommended source of nutrition for children in developing countries.”
The study’s findings were published in the journal Pediatrics.