Jakarta (ANTARA) - Lack of knowledge and awareness among the community regarding healthy lifestyles is the root cause of stunting in children, according to the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN).

"If we only fight stunting, we will be tired. Thus, we must eliminate the root problem," BKKBN head Hasto Wardoyo said at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the BKKBN and partners here on Friday.

Some people in Indonesia still do not understand the importance of clean and livable environments for the health of their families, he said.

Some people still have a poor understanding of the harm of open defecation, when, in fact, it can cause the emergence of E. coli bacteria that cause diarrhea.

According to Wardoyo, diarrhea can hinder weight gain in children, even if their nutritional intake is balanced.

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If children have diarrhea, then they will continuously lose weight, and if for three months, they do not gain weight and grow taller, they will end up stunted, he explained.

He then highlighted the need to pay attention to raising awareness about maintaining a healthy environment. Aside from habitable houses, clean sanitation and water are paramount for preventing childhood stunting.

The BKKBN recently updated the 2022 Family Data Collection (PK22) data on Monday (September 19, 2022) to make the government's data more accurate so that interventions carried out for families at risk of stunting can be right on target.

The PK22 data will later include a family's economic status, stunting risk categories, habitable house conditions, availability of toilets, and the sanitation and water situation around the house, among others.

"Alhamdulillah (thank God), the BKKBN already has by-name by-address data on uninhabitable houses, then houses with a high risk of stunting, then those who do not have toilets, those who do not have clean water; we have detailed data on them," the BKKBN head expounded.

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma, Raka Adji
Editor: Suharto
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