During critical period interventions, do not give ultra-processed food to babies
Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called on regional heads to intervene in stunting prevention through efforts including by reminding integrated health posts (posyandu) or community health center (puskesmas) to avoid giving biscuits and instant porridge to babies.

"During critical period interventions, do not give ultra-processed food to babies. This is wrong," the president stated while opening the National Coordination Meeting of Regional Heads and the Regional Leaders Communication Forum throughout Indonesia in Sentul, West Java, Tuesday.

The president emphasized the importance of giving animal protein that is high in iron to babies, even before being born.

He detailed that 23 percent of stunting cases were found when the baby was not yet born. To this end, he reminded regional heads and the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) to continue to disseminate information on nutrition for pregnant women and ensure they do not experience anemia due to iron deficiency.

Thereafter, the other 37 percent of stunting cases are recorded when the baby is born up to two years of age.

Jokowi urged posyandu and puskesmas to actively assist prospective mothers and those with toddlers regarding exclusive breastfeeding for six months.

If a baby is indicated to be stunted, then instant biscuits and porridge cannot be given as complementary foods to breast milk.

"Prioritize giving chicken liver, eggs, and rice. We have to understand this. If we do not understand, how can we intervene? Once again, natural foods are better," he noted.

The president is targeting the number of stunting cases in Indonesia to decrease to 14 percent in 2024, from 37 percent in 2014, 24 percent in 2021, and an estimate of 21 percent in 2022.

According to the head of state, reduction in stunting is the target for human resource development in Indonesia, considering that the demographic bonus will occur in the country at its peak in 2035.

"If our human resources have no ability to be productive, we must be careful. We will not reap an advantage but only bring burden to the state," he stated.

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Translator: Mentari Dwi G, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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