Jakarta (ANTARA) - Head of the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) Hasto Wardoyo stated that Aceh Province has a surfeit of local food commodities that can be used to overcome stunting in children.

"Apart from an abundant source of food, Aceh also has various types of minerals, which can be used in other forms to meet nutritional needs for children in Aceh," Wardoyo said in a statement on Thursday.

He explained that local foods in Aceh, such as eggs and fish, were able to meet the animal protein intake requirement in addition to Moringa leaves in Aceh that are also nutritionally dense.

According to the agency head, local food commodities could be maximized by the presence of the Healthy Kitchen for Overcoming Stunting (Dashat) that was driven by the family welfare movement (PKK) driving team and could reduce the stunting rate in Aceh that is still at 33.2 percent.

Lhokseumawe City in Aceh has a stunting rate of 27.4 percent. The cause of stunting is not only a matter of nutritional intake but also the unavailability of clean water and the presence of uninhabitable houses that caused diarrhea in children, Wardoyo explained.

Wardoyo deemed it necessary to regulate spacing between pregnancies and the number of children, as short interpregnancy intervals can be causal to stunting. Likewise, the large number of children in a family can also cause stunting on account of the parenting styles.

Moreover, spacing between births and pregnancies in the family is also one of the causes of stunting. The BKKBN has provided free family planning services in Aceh to encourage healthy pregnancies for every mother.

Acting Mayor of Lhokseumawe Imran said he was intensifying efforts to bring about changes in people's behavior in consuming and processing healthy food in an effort to provide sufficient nutrition for children.

Imran said the city government encourages changing the culture and habits that can actually lead to stunting as well as cooperating with religious and community leaders to accelerate reduction in stunting.

In addition, the local government aims to promote fish consumption and vegetable processing in the community that is driven by the PKK team to meet nutritional standards of families.

He said the local government involved religious leaders and community leaders in changing the approach, including regarding halal status on immunization.

"Immunization is important for children. Imagine if unvaccinated children were infected with tuberculosis, they could suffer from stunting as well. Through religious leaders and community leaders, we ensure that immunization is safe according to religious rules," he stated.

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Resinta S
Editor: Tia Mutiasari
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