Jakarta (ANTARA) - The 2023 National Nutrition Day (HGN), which will be commemorated on January 25, must serve as a reminder for all parties to improve the supervision of children's food, the Indonesian Pediatrician Association (IDAI) has said.

"The government must intervene and be present to guarantee the safety of food consumed by our children and the public in general," IDAI Chairperson Dr. Piprim Basrah Yanuarso said at a media briefing on “Children’s Snacks and Digestive Health” in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Following the incident of food poisoning caused by the consumption of snacks infused with liquid nitrogen, or smoke snacks, the 2023 HGN must put focus on monitoring all kinds of food consumed by children, he added.

He suggested that supervision be carried out by the Health Ministry, Health Services, the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM), schools, and even families.

This is especially important now as the potential for children consuming food laced with harmful ingredients is increasing in Indonesia. Moreover, the consumption of junk food, which leads to obesity, is also becoming increasingly popular.

According to Yanuarso, each control in the distribution of food lies with the government. He said he hopes that the government will provide maximum supervision and strengthen the education of families on the importance of using natural food to fulfill children's nutritional needs properly.

Proper nutritional intake would have an impact on the quality of human resources since poor nutrition is linked to degenerative diseases and metabolic syndromes, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension in teenagers.

Another concern surrounds the fulfillment of animal protein intake, which can prevent stunting in children, he added.

In this case, the provision of animal proteins is in line with a program being implemented by IDAI, he said.

“Junk food is not only a problem in Indonesia, but all over the world. Even in the United States, around 67 percent of children and teenagers consume junk food," he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Head of IDAI’s gastro-hepatology coordination work unit (UKK), Dr. Muzal Kadim, said that this problem is occurring all over the world.

The consumption of foods containing harmful ingredients, such as smoke snacks, can be harmful to the body. Meanwhile, foods with very high sugar or fat content can increase cholesterol levels, which can lead to liver problems.

According to him, the main form of supervision needs to be done by parents at home, followed by schools. Parents are the main parties who can observe what types of food are consumed by children.

Meanwhile, schools can cooperate with health services in the regions to check children's nutritional status through School Health Units (UKS).

"Canteen at school must also be managed by the school itself. However, we cannot control food merchants outside of the school. Usually, it will be the responsibility of the health service," Kadim said.

Related news: Junk food hindering efforts to improve children's nutrition: IDAI
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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Resinta S
Editor: Sri Haryati
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