Vitamins vs. Eggs: Anemia in China

Chinese student eats an egg

China’s answer to anemia in rural regions has been to feed children eggs. Work by U.S. researchers suggests vitamins may work better. Above, a fourth-grader in rural Gao Lou eats a hardboiled egg. Government officials began feeding kids eggs in this poor, rural area after Stanford researchers found high rates of anemia among schoolchildren. The academics are now studying the effectiveness of the egg program.

“Part of the issue is that the government thinks nutrition is something that should be dealt with at home,” says Stanford University economist Scott Rozelle about China’s reluctance to incorporate vitamins into a daily regimen at school. Another hang-up could be that principals and teachers are reluctant to pass out pills they think are medicine.

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