Palembang, South Sumatra (ANTARA) - The habit of eating together with the family at the dining table can serve as an effort to prevent children from developing stunted growth, according to the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN).

"Thus, our children would not be stunted. They must be made happy. If the family member is busy on their phones, how would the children be happy?" Head of BKKBN Hasto Wardoyo stated in Palembang, South Sumatra, on Friday.

Wardoyo noted that currently, the agency was promoting a program, titled "Back to Dining Table Initiative," as an effort to remind people to spend time with their families and communicate with one another.

This aims to ensure that every family member is fed healthy, nutritious food from local sources, such as fish, eggs, milk, and vegetables, which are cooked in a clean environment, he explained.

"Preventing stunting is enough with local products. Hence, if we want to empower the family through the Back to Dining Table Initiative, this can serve as an effective opportunity to utilize local products," Wardoyo noted.

In a modern era where tech dominates everything, humans have a harder time to meet their families, he remarked.

It is related to the individualistic lifestyle that makes one too attached to their gadgets and mass media, so the time to gather with families become limited, he pointed out.

Hence, dinner time around the table can reinforce familial values in children. Sitting together and sharing stories of daily happenings can maintain a kid's mental health, he remarked.

"Physical communication serves as an important factor in determining a (family)'s harmony and promotes stronger emotional ties between parents and children. Hence, through the Back to Dining Table Initiative, families are expected to create a warm, harmonious vibe at home," he stated.

Deputy of Research Development and Training at BKKBN Rizal M. Damanik also stressed that dining together with the family at home can serve as an opportunity for children to speak up about their issues and for parents to guide their children in solving those problems.

He also noted that parents have the opportunity to see growth in children, their expression, and their condition.

Damanik expected that the program could help people remember ways to protect their loved ones.

"Communication is a very important aspect for a family. Although the initiative contains 'dining table' in it, does not (literally) mean that at home there should be dining table, but it means to spend time to gather and eat together with the family," he said.

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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