Egg Consumption Vital in Preventing PEM in Kids

Egg Consumption Vital in Preventing PEM in KidsEgg Consumption Vital in Preventing PEM in Kids

World Egg Day 2015 was celebrated on October 10 with great gusto. A variety of events were held globally to promote egg consumption.

In Tehran district 2, school children celebrated the day, receiving egg sandwiches. Promotional posters and brochures were also distributed in Tehran schools, fruit and vegetable markets and government organizations, said Farzad Talakesh, secretary-general of Iran’s Egg Producers’ Association.

The proposal to distribute free eggs in schools under the supervision of the health and education ministries was made two years ago, but has not been implemented since catering for school buffets is leased to the private sector.

Free egg sandwiches are to be distributed on November 20, which marks the day on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, reports Alef News Agency.

Food and nutrition experts including dieticians and medical practitioners have debunked the notion that daily consumption of egg poses risk to people with normal health. Eggs are one of the best and most affordable sources of protein that are easily available to most Iranians and are considered necessary for youngsters, especially those below 18, Talakesh added.

Unfortunately, there are 800,000 children under the age of 6 years, comprising a quarter of the total number of children in the country who suffer from protein–energy malnutrition (PEM) due to poor eating habits; whereas, an egg a day can play a vital role in improving their health.

The nutritional value of egg and its yolk has been debated by nutritionists for years. Initially, egg had a bad reputation vis-à-vis cardiovascular health, as one large egg contains approximately 187 milligrams of cholesterol. However, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a limit of 300 mg per day.

Moreover, most research has shown that cholesterol found in foods isn’t fully to blame for increased LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) in the body, heart disease (excluding those with diabetics and familial hypercholesterolemia).

 Little Impact

Research consistently and reliably shows that the cholesterol taken through egg consumption has very little impact on cholesterol in the blood. The body makes cholesterol by itself; every single day it produces between 1 and 2 grams which is 5-10 times the cholesterol in a large egg.

The interesting twist is when cholesterol from foods like eggs is consumed, the body produces less of it; when less cholesterol is received from foods like eggs, the body produces more. It is like a cholesterol “set point” which is largely determined by genetics, exercise habits and stress.

Egg yolks contain 90% of calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid and B12. In addition, the yolk contains all of the fat-soluble components, such as Vitamins A, D and E, not to mention the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Egg yolks are also a rich source of some other very interesting nutrients such as choline, lutein and zeaxanthin. Choline is essential for cardiovascular and brain function. Eating more of it may mean less inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are the major antioxidants in eggs. They protect the eyes by filtering harmful light wavelengths and lowering risk of macular degeneration. Indeed, those people eating only egg whites or avoiding eggs entirely are missing out on many of these key nutrients.