Whole egg consumption and cortical bone in healthy children
Eggs contain bioactive compounds thought to benefit pediatric bone. This cross-sectional study shows a positive link between childhood egg intake and radius cortical bone. If randomized trials confirm our findings, incorporating eggs into children’s diets could have a significant impact in preventing childhood fractures and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
This study examined the relationships between egg consumption and cortical bone in children.
The cross-sectional study design included 294 9–13-year-old black and white males and females. Three-day diet records determined daily egg consumption. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography measured radius and tibia cortical bone. Body composition and biomarkers of bone turnover were assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and ELISA, respectively.
Egg intake was positively correlated with radius and tibia cortical bone mineral content (Ct.BMC), total bone area, cortical area, cortical thickness, periosteal circumference, and polar strength strain index in unadjusted models (r = 0.144–0.224, all P < 0.050). After adjusting for differences in race, sex, maturation, fat-free soft tissue mass (FFST), and protein intakes, tibia relationships were nullified; however, egg intake remained positively correlated with radius Ct.BMC (r = 0.138, P = 0.031). Egg intake positively correlated with total body bone mineral density, BMC, and bone area in the unadjusted models only (r = 0.119–0.224; all P < 0.050). After adjusting for covariates, egg intake was a positive predictor of radius FFST (β = 0.113, P < 0.050) and FFST was a positive predictor of Ct.BMC (β = 0.556, P < 0.050) in path analyses. There was a direct influence of egg on radius Ct.BMC (β = 0.099, P = 0.035), even after adjusting for the mediator, FFST (β = 0.137, P = 0.020). Egg intake was positively correlated with osteocalcin in both the unadjusted (P = 0.005) and adjusted (P = 0.049) models.
If the positive influence of eggs on Ct.BMC observed in this study is confirmed through future randomized controlled trials, whole eggs may represent a viable strategy to promote pediatric bone development and prevent fractures.
KeywordsCortical bone Egg Fat-free soft tissue pQCT
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (RO1HD057126), National Institute of Food and Agriculture HATCH projects GEO00797 and GEO00798, and the Egg Nutrition Center.
Compliance with ethical standards
The Institutional Review Boards for Human Subjects at all study sites approved the study procedures. Informed assent and permission were obtained from each participant and their parent/guardian, respectively.
Conflicts of interest
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