Eggs have been shown to significantly increase growth in young children, reducing stunting by 47%, according to the results of a major US-led study.
The research, conducted by the Brown School at Washington University, St Louis, looked at the effects of eggs given to 6-9 month old children over 6 months in Ecuador.
In the randomised, controlled trial the children were given 1 egg per day for 6 months versus a control group, which did not receive eggs.
The findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, showed that eggs were shown to increase standardised length-for-age score and weight-for-age score.
Models indicated a reduced prevalence of stunting by 47% and underweight by 74%.
Lead author Lora Iannotti said the research team was surprised at the effectiveness of the egg intervention: “The size of the effect was 0.63 compared to the 0.39 global average.
“What’s great is it’s very affordable and accessible for populations that are especially vulnerable to hidden hunger or nutritional deficiency.
“Eggs contain a combination of nutrients, which we think are important,” she added.
Poor nutrition is a major cause of stunting, and the World Health Organisation says 155 million children under the age of 5 are stunted. Most live in low and middle income countries and health experts have been looking at ways to tackle the issue.
The British Nutrition Foundation said eggs were a good source of vitamins A and D, B vitamins, iodine, selenium and phosphorus, which are essential nutrients for children to grow and be healthy.