Jakarta (ANTARA) - The 64th National Nutrition Day (HGN) commemoration is a good momentum to raise awareness and launch joint efforts to control stunting in Indonesia, an official from the Health Ministry said on Friday.

"The commemoration of the National Nutrition Day this year can help achieve the target of the 2020–2024 National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) to accelerate stunting reduction to 14 percent," the ministry's director general of public health, Maria Endang Sumiwi, added.

Even though the stunting rate has reduced compared to 2021, when it was recorded at 24.4 percent, the figure is still quite high, with the 2022 Indonesian Nutrition Status Survey (SSGI) pegging it at around 21.6 percent, she pointed out.

Therefore, the ministry has issued a stunting control guide as a reference for organizers at the central and regional levels as well as parties participating in organizing this year's HGN commemoration.

Stunting is a disruption in the growth and development of children due to chronic malnutrition, characterized by length or height that is below minus 2 standard deviation on the WHO growth curve for a particular age, according to the Minister of Health's Regulation Number 2 of 2020 concerning Child Anthropometric Standards.

"Efforts to prevent stunting start from monitoring growth. If a toddler is found with a stagnant weight, they must immediately be examined by a doctor at the community health center (puskesmas)," Sumiwi informed.

Toddlers with stagnant weight issues or who are underweight can be prevented from becoming stunted through the provision of sufficient animal proteins, she added.

"The results of a study conducted by Headey et al. in 2018 stated that there was strong evidence of a relationship between stunting and indicators of food consumption derived from animals, such as meat, fish, eggs, and milk, or their derivative products, such as cheese, yogurt, and others," she added.

Sumiwi expressed the hope that the HGN commemoration this year would encourage all stakeholders to play an active role in promoting the intake of complementary food (MPASI) besides breast milk for children aged 6–23 months along with high consumption of animal proteins and monthly monitoring of children's growth.

This year, National Nutrition Day will be commemorated on January 25 with the theme "MPASI Rich in Animal Protein to Prevent Stunting."

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Translator: Andi Firdaus, Resinta Sulistiyandari
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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