An egg a day might actually help undernourished young kids grow to a healthy height.

 

Whatever way you cook them - whether scrambled or fried - an egg a day can boost a child's growth, according to a six-month study in Ecuador. 

 

According to the World Health Organisation, there are 155 million children under the age of five that have stunted growth, most as a result of lack of nourishment.

 

Lora Iannotti and her colleagues set up an experiment in the rural highlands of Ecuador, and gave very young kids (aged six to nine months) eggs to eat, to see if this might help growth.

 

Half of the 160 babies that took part in the randomised trial ate an egg a day for six months, while the others were monitored for comparison.

 

Brown Eggs in White Ceramic Bowl

 

The research found that stunting was far less common among the egg-eating group of babies - the prevalence was 47 per cent less than in the non-egg group.

 

Some of the children in the control group did consume eggs, but nowhere near as many as the treatment group.

 

Ms Iannotti said: "We were surprised by just how effective this intervention proved to be.

 

"And what's great is, it's very affordable and accessible for populations that are especially vulnerable to hidden hunger or nutritional deficiency."

 

She also cited the fact that eggs were a great food source for young children with small stomachs.

 

Boiled Egg on Top on Bread Beside Salt Shaker

 

"Eggs contain a combination of nutrients, which we think is important."

 

Professor Mary Fewtrell, who is a nutritionist at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: "In a way, it is surprising that more research has not been conducted using egg in this situation - although I know that in some cultures, parents do not necessarily find egg to be an acceptable early food mainly because of concerns about allergy.

 

"Egg is a good, nutritious, complementary food that can be introduced as part of a varied diet once the mother decides to start complementary feeding - never before four months."

 

The British Nutrition Foundation advised: "While eggs are a nutritious food to include, it's very important that young children have a variety of foods in their diets. Not only is this necessary to get all the vitamins and minerals they need, but also to allow them to become familiar with a wide range of tastes and textures.

 

"A range of protein-rich foods should be provided when feeding young children, which can include eggs but can also feature beans, pulses, fish, especially oily fish, meat and dairy products."

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