A study conducted in Ecuador found that eating eggs significantly increased growth in young children and reduced stunting by 47 percent — a much greater effect than had been shown in previous studies.
The study was co-authored by Lori Iannotti, a leading child-nutrition expert at the Brown School. It was published June 6, 2017 in the journal Pediatrics.
In the randomized, controlled trial, children ages 6-9 months were randomly assigned to be given one egg per day for 6 months, versus a control group, which did not receive eggs.
Eggs were shown to increase standardized length-for-age score and weight-for-age score. Models indicated a reduced prevalence of stunting by 47 percent and underweight by 74 percent. Children in the treatment group had higher dietary intakes of eggs and reduced intake of sugar-sweetened foods compared to control.
“We were surprised by just how effective this intervention proved to be,” Iannotti said.
Eggs are a complete food, safely packaged and arguably more accessible in resource-poor populations than other complementary foods, specifically fortified foods, she said.
“Our study carefully monitored allergic reactions to eggs, yet no incidents were observed or reported by caregivers during the weekly home visits. Eggs seem to be a viable and recommended source of nutrition for children in developing countries.”