Date of Graduation

8-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Agricultural & Extension Education (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Agricultural Education, Communications and Technology

Advisor

Jeff Miller

Committee Member

Kate Shoulders

Second Committee Member

Mechelle Bailey

Third Committee Member

Karen Shank

Keywords

Children, Cognition, Egg Nutrition, Food Insecurity, Haiti

Abstract

Within Latin America and the Caribbean, severe food insecurity is highest in Haiti. Fifty-five percent of the population lives below the poverty line with approximately 50% of the population undernourished. Given the typical diet in the developing world is primarily plant-based, the two studies presented in this thesis examine how eggs, a locally available animal protein, impact physical growth, cognitive development, and motor skills of food-insecure children from a single orphanage in Leogane, Haiti when added to the diet.

In the first study, growth parameters in children ages 3-8 years old were measured at baseline, six months, and one year. At the study mid-point, two eggs, five days per week (10 eggs per week) were supplemented weekly for six months. Dietary diversity and nutrient intakes were assessed throughout the study using a 24-hour recall. Growth parameters were evaluated using anthropometric data including: height, weight, mid-upper arm circumference, and tricep skinfold thickness, while body mass index was calculated. Significant differences in anthropometric outcomes showed a decrease in growth velocity after egg introduction. Key findings from the study included poor growth velocity over the course of the study, likely due to insufficient energy needs. In addition, an increase in dietary diversity was found but not reflective of increased caloric intake. These outcomes support the known relationship between child undernutrition and food insecurity.

In the second study, cognitive development and motor skills in children ages 3-6 years old were evaluated three times over the course of a year. At the study mid-point, two eggs, five days per week (10 eggs per week) were supplemented weekly for six months. Dietary diversity and nutrient intake was assessed using a 24-hour recall. Cognition and motor skill assessments were conducted using Early Screening Profiles with no significant differences in outcomes found between the control period and the egg intervention period. Key learnings from the study included insight into cognitive and motor skills for this group of food-insecure children, estimated nutrient intakes among children in this single orphanage, and estimated nutrient intakes from the egg intervention, along with knowledge of research challenges in a food insecure developing country.

Included in

Nutrition Commons

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