Understanding Stunting and Its Effects on Child Development

Stunting is still a serious problem in Indonesian families. A total of 27.67 percent of Indonesian children suffer from stunting.

Illustration. The rate of prevalence of stunted growth in Indonesia in 2019 reached 27.67 percent. (ACTNews/Muhamad Ubaidillah)

ACTNews, JAKARTA – Stunting is still one of the widespread problems faced by Indonesian families. Stunting is defined as the impaired growth and development in children under five years old caused by chronic malnutrition and repeated infections, especially in the first 1,000 days of life from before birth to early childhood.

Unfortunately, the prevalence of stunting among children under five in Indonesia is still one of the highest in the world. Indonesia is ranked fourth in the world and second in Asia in stunting cases with 27.67 percent of children suffering from stunted growth in 2019.

ACTNews met with Humanity Medical Services -  Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT)’s Nutritionist Harum Aulia Rahmawati to talk about the role of parents in preventing stunting.

Harum said that stunting is still a problem among underprivileged families. Financial problems make it difficult for the parents to fulfill their children’s need for proper nutritional intake.

“The lack of access to nutritious food, proper intake of vitamins and minerals, food diversity, and access to animal protein sources are the main causes of stunted growth in children. They will be shorter than other children their age and even suffer from cognitive problems, "said Harum, Wednesday (10/13/2021).

In addition to food, other causes of stunted growth are poor maternal health and parenting. The lack of nutritional intake during pregnancy will affect the child’s growth.

Harum is of the opinion that preventing stunted growth is a shared responsibility. In addition to the family, there must be a role of the government and private institutions. There are a number of steps that must be taken to prevent stunted growth, namely the fulfillment of nutrition during pregnancy, balanced diet for pregnant women and children, provision of access to food for underprivileged communities, and education on feeding children and toddlers for parents.

“Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) plays an active role in preventing stunting through the Indonesian Child Nutrition Operation program and the Integrated Nutrition Workshop (BeGiTu). We hope that, if held regularly, this program can reduce the stunting prevalence rate,” wished Harum.

Harum said the Indonesian Child Nutrition Operation program had distributed 2,600 food packages and 2,600 liters of milk in a number of regions in Indonesia. In addition, the Integrated Nutrition Workshop has assisted dozens of children through the monitoring of their health and growth to achieve ideal body weight and balanced nutrition.

“Insha Allah, the collaboration between ACT’s Humanity Medical Services, Indonesian Child Nutrition Operation, and the Integrated Nutrition Workshop can continue to bring benefits for healthy Indonesian families. We are therefore inviting our generous friends to actively participate in contributing to this program," added Harum.[]