Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN), through its Dashat (The Healthy Kitchen to Overcome Stunting) program, is raising awareness about nutritious menus in Quality Family Villages (KB) in Palembang, South Sumatra.

"BKKBN is providing education on local nutritious food through the Dashat program in KB Villages to hundreds of cadres, family planning counselors, and family assistance teams, due to the lack of access to nutritious food, which could cause stunting," BKKBN's Deputy for Population Control Bonivasius Prasetya Ichtiarto said in an official statement received here on Saturday.

Nutritional intake is also related to the parenting style in a family, he observed. Responsible parents pay attention to the types of ingredients used in children's food and ensure the ingredients are consumed in balanced portions.

According to Ichtiarto, some families do not understand this. Therefore, his party has initiated the program, which has been designed to serve as a forum to teach families through simple cooking demonstrations using local foods.

"Dashat is a community empowerment activity to fulfill balanced nutrition for families at risk of stunting through the use of local resources that can be combined with the contributions of other partnerships," he explained.

He said BKKBN is working hard to encourage the public to consume affordable local nutritious foods. Dashat's activities also include providing education on improving nutrition and food consumption for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and toddlers.

"In this case, the community will be given socialization regarding local food that is affordable, tastes good, and is well nutritious, which is integrated with various partnership activities through social, commercial, and combination management models," he informed.

Meanwhile, Assistant II for Economics, Finance, and Development in the South Sumatra Provincial Government Dharma Budhi asked all levels of government to support every program initiated under Dashat, including accelerating the reduction of stunting and the Bangga Kencana (Family Development, Population, and Family Planning) Program.

He said that stunting prevention must start from the upstream domain, namely teenagers and prospective brides, to ensure children are born healthy and are supported by quality education to become the nation's future generation.

"With that effort, we can achieve the main goal to realize society's welfare and improve the quality of life for the whole family," Budhi said.

In addition, a professor of food and nutrition at Bogor Agricultural Institute, Ali Khomsan, said that optimal nutrition in early childhood is needed to help children grow and develop in accordance with their age stages.

"It is important to maintain our nutrition intake to overcome micronutrient deficiency. Stunting is not only a matter of calories or protein, but also lack of zinc and iron, which can be found in animal proteins," he added.

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Translator: Hreeloita Dharma S, Resinta S
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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