Mazira Project

Mazira Logo

Infant diets in resource-poor settings are often characterized by low diversity and poor nutrient quality, yet nutrient requirements for infants are high to meet the demands of rapid growth and development. Animal source foods, such as eggs, are nutrient-dense food sources that may improve diet quality for rapidly growing infants. Our research group has been carrying out two closely related projects evaluating the effects of eggs provided early in complementary feeding. The Lulun Project, led by Washington University in St. Louis and the Universidad San Francisco, Quito, was carried out in the highland Cotopaxi region of Ecuador. This study found that providing one egg per day to infants starting at 6-9 months of age resulted in a significant improvement in growth over a 6 month period of time.

The Mazira Project is designed as a replication of the Lulun Project to determine whether results are  broadly generalizable. In addition, the study is designed to evaluate impacts on child development and biomarkers of nutrition and health. The study area is located on the eastern side of Lake Malawi in the Mangochi District of Malawi. The trial will enroll a total of 662 children aged 6-9 months randomized into two groups: 1) an intervention group receiving one egg per day for 6 months or 2) a control group receiving no eggs. The control group will receive a food basket at the end of the 6 month study. Children will be enrolled and visited at least three times to monitor growth, development, dietary intake, and morbidity throughout the trial. The study will begin in February 2018.

Mazira Project Team

Collaborating Institutions

  • University of California, Davis
  • University of Malawi, College of Medicine
  • University of Maryland
  • Washington University, St. Louis


  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


  • Iannotti L, Lutter C, Bunn D, Stewart CP.  Eggs: the uncracked potential for improving maternal and young child nutrition among the poor.  Nutrition Reviews 2014; epub doi:10.1111/nure.12107.
  • Iannotti LL, Lutter CK, Stewart CP, Riofrio CAG, Malo C, Reinhart G, Palacios A, Karp C, Chapnick M, Cox K. Eggs early in complementary feeding and child growth: a randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics 2017; 140(1): e20163459.
  • Iannotti LL, Lutter CK, Waters WF, Gallegos CA, Malo C, Reinhart G, Palacios A, Karp C, Chapnick M, Cox K, Aguirre S, Naravaez L, Lopez F, Sidhu R, Kell P, Jiang X, Ory DS, Young R, Stewart CP. Eggs early in complementary feeding increased choline pathway biomarkers and DHA: a randomized controlled trial in Ecuador. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2017; doi: 10.3945/ajcn.117.160515
  • Lutter CK, Iannotti LL, Stewart CP. Cracking the egg potential during pregnancy and lactation. Sight and Life Magazine 2016. 30(2): 75-81.