"Fulfill (the children's) animal protein needs, as this is the most important aspect. Do not stop at only (ensuring that children) eat until (they feel) full because macronutrients, micronutrients, and vitamins are all provided by animal protein. Fish, eggs, and chicken liver, which are affordable, have complete vitamins and zinc," Yanuarso told ANTARA here Tuesday.
Stunting is caused by prolonged nutrient deficiency that causes the body height of children to be below the normal standard, he remarked, adding that the child's first thousand days are key to ensuring they will not suffer from stunting by ensuring sufficient animal protein intake.
The lack of essential amino acids in animal protein can also impede the child's growth and cause stunting, he added.
The paediatrician emphasized that parents must not solely focus on providing carbohydrates to ensure their child is full while neglecting the requirement for animal protein.
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"Eat only to fill the stomach remains rampant among us. Education is key. We must make parents understand that if they want stunting-free, tall, and smart children, they could not neglect animal protein," Yanuarso remarked.
He also urged parents to encourage their children to consume more natural foods and reduce the intake of processed foods, including high-calorie and low-nutrient junk foods.
"What is natural food? (Natural foods) are vegetables, fruits, and animal protein. Those are natural foods and are not processed foods packed in boxes nor high-sugar, high-calorie, and low-nutrient snacks," he noted.
Apart from vigilance against stunting, parents must also be watchful about obesity due to wrong selection of foods for their children, the paediatrician pointed out.
"Healthy food is rich in nutrients with sufficient calories, while unhealthy food is high in calories but low in nutrients," Yanuarso remarked.
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