Jakarta (ANTARA) - Meeting the nutritional needs of pregnant women and children under five plays an important role in preventing stunting, said Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.

"In addition to focusing on under-five children, we must also make efforts for pregnant women because we observed many cases that in under-five children, it (stunting) has been handled, but there are babies who were born with low weight," he said at the National Nutrition Day commemoration event in Jakarta on Sunday.

Meeting the nutritional needs of pregnant women during pregnancy is deemed crucial to prevent stunting, which is a condition of impaired growth in children caused by chronic malnutrition, repeated infections, and lack of stimulation.

It is deemed essential to meet pregnant women's needs for nutrition, both in terms of quantity and type, to support the fetus to grow well and to grow optimally after birth.

Sadikin also underlined that parents must pay attention to the fulfillment of children's nutritional needs.

Related news: Health Minister suggests routine infant weighing to prevent stunting

He stated that monitoring the growth of children aged under five is important to detect early the indications of stunting and other health problems.

Monitoring the growth and nutritional status of a child is carried out by weighing and measuring the body. If the results indicate that the child has growth problems, it is deemed essential to carry out intervention promptly.

"If they already have nutritional problems, they must be given foods containing animal protein. The food can be anything as long as it has animal protein; it can be eggs, fish, or meat," Sadikin said.

Stunting reduction is a priority program of the government, which is aiming to bring down stunting prevalence to 14 percent by 2024.

Indonesia's stunting prevalence declined by 2.8 percentage points to 21.6 percent in 2022 from 24.4 percent in 2021, as per the 2022 Indonesian Nutritional Status Survey (SSGI).

Related news: National Nutrition Day opportunity to raise stunting awareness: govt

Translator: Sugiharto Purnama, Raka Adji
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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