Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) has said that poverty has not been the primary cause of stunting in Indonesian children.

"Poverty is not the only problem in stunting. Lack of knowledge before marriage and pregnancy and wrong parenting can cause stunting," family planning counselor from BKKBN, Siti Fathonah, said in a written statement received here on Friday.

The Indonesia Nutrition Status Study (SSGI) in 2021 pegged the national stunting prevalence rate at 24.4 percent. That is, around six million children were affected by stunting across the nation during the period.

Fathonah said that many parties often blame poverty as the main cause of stunting since low-income families are not able to meet children's nutritional requirements. However, stunting can occur even in children from wealthy families.

Incorrect parenting and lack of knowledge related to the health of women and children before marriage can also cause stunting, she explained.

Thus, to prevent childhood stunting, brides-to-be are advised to get their health checked, starting with their arm, weight, and height measurements, as well as hemoglobin tests for early anemia detection.

The nutritional intake of pregnant women must be sufficient, she said. Pregnancy check-ups to monitor fetal growth and development should also be carried out regularly.

"If all the indicators are red, they will be directed to a health facility center (Puskesmas) to receive treatment. Three months before marriage, brides-to-be must register on the Elsimil application (Electronic Ready for Marriage, Ready for Pregnancy) to be controlled," she added.

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Meanwhile, babies weighing less than 2.5 kilograms at birth and measuring less than 48 centimeters in length must be categorized as stunted.

Infants must be exclusively breastfed up to the age of six months followed by complementary feeding (MPASI).

Fathonah said that the BKKBN has formed a family assistance team (TPK) to raise awareness about stunting among parents.

The TPK is focusing its stunting reduction efforts on prospective brides, pregnant women, two-year-old babies, five-year-old babies, and postpartum mothers. The five targets will later be subjected to incubation and accorded special attention.

"The BKKBN, through its institutions, has formed the stunting reduction acceleration team (TPPS), the stunting task force, the family assistance team (TPK) in villages to provide education to the community," she added.

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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