"Child marriage is the cause of stunted growth. Hence, we must avoid it at all cost," Puspayoga stated during the declaration of stunting growth-free women-friendly and child-caring village (DRPPA) held concurrently with the commemoration of National Children's Day here, Thursday.
Puspayoga stressed that child marriages should be avoided, as they were causal to psychological, physical, health, and economic issues, as well as stunting at birth.
Vulnerabilities of child marriage potentially impacted the growth of children born and caused cases of stunted growth due to their young parents' inability to meet the daily nutrient intake requirement of their newborns, the minister noted.
"If we want to expedite the handling of stunting prevalence, we also need to prevent child marriage because it is a major factor that causes stunting growth. Stop child marriage, as we today declare the stunting growth-free DRPPA villages," Puspayoga stated.
The minister urged provincial and local authorities to optimize efforts to prevent child marriages to suppress the prevalence of stunting. She emphasized that child marriages can be prevented by educating residents about the associated vulnerabilities and risks.
She also urged regional authorities to provide a medium for children to have a say in regional development through the Regional Child Forum.
Meanwhile, Central Kalimantan Deputy Governor Edy Pratowo reiterated the provincial authority's commitment to bolster synergy with the ministry and the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) to achieve the national development goals that included stunting prevention.
According to the Indonesian Nutrient Status Study (SSGI) data in 2021, the stunting prevalence rate in Central Kalimantan reached 27.4 percent, while the nationwide stunting reduction target is set at 14 percent by 2024, while the provincial target is 15.38 percent.
Related news: Sanitation improvement in slum areas reduces stunting cases: Ministry
Related news: BKKBN bolstering lactation education among working mothers
Related news: Suppress child marriages for three-percent reduction in stunting