Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Eating a healthy, balanced diet is considered the best way to prevent malnutrition in Indonesia, where more than 12 percent of children under the age of five are acutely malnourished.
Hence, healthy, balanced diet is vital for maintaining health and fitness of children by giving them a variety of foods such as plenty of fruit and vegetables; plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods; some milk and dairy foods; some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non dairy sources of protein.
It turns out that giving a wrong or improper diet becomes one of the causes of malnutrition in infants in Indonesia, according to dr Ketut Suarjaya, the head of Bali Provincial Health Office.
According to him, one cause of malnutrition and stunting is not merely because of the consumption of food that is lacking, but wrong and improper diet that is usually given by parents and nannies.
Otherwise, a good health care system that provides immunization, oral re-hydration, periodic deworming, early diagnosis and proper treatment of common illnesses can go a long way in preventing malnutrition in the society.
Suarjaya noted that there was a tendency of todays parents who provide their toddlers with more fast food and foods with low nutrients, known as junk foods.
Bad habits from parents who give fast foods and junk foods to babies under five years old and children will make them dislike healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Therefore, Suarjaya considers it is very important that education about the proper diet for infants and toddlers is necessary for parents, especially for the first 1,000 days of life that starts from the womb until the age of two, because it is a crucial period of growth in infants.
To prevent the occurrence of nutritional problems in children, the Provincial Health Office of Bali has been conducting family-based health promotion programs.
In addition to providing information on health problems in general, health workers also educate or provide understanding to parents about the importance of balanced nutrition, which must be done since the baby is still in the womb.
Related to the problem of malnutrition, Suarjaya explained that the prevalence of the case in Bali is by far the lowest compared to that in other provinces such as in West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara.
In West Nusa Tenggara, local Health Office will optimize health examination of every household as an early anticipation of the outbreaks of malnutrition and measles.
"Special measures are carried out, through the optimization of health check-ups, for residents in all villages and neighborhoods," head of public health division of West Nusa Tenggara Health Office, Panca Yuniati, stated in Mataram early this month.
Yuniati noted that the effort was aimed to avoid malnutrition, measles, and other disease outbreaks in the province.
People with malnutrition may also be affected by other clinical diseases, such as heart abnormalities, shortness of breath, and respiratory infection.
Therefore, the bodies of infants or toddlers who are attacked by the diseases will not be able to receive the perfect intake of nutrients.
The Health Office cannot handle malnutrition by itself. Thus, the participation of other regional agencies, such as Social Affairs Office, is also needed.
"The participation of other offices is also needed. The community must also actively participate in monitoring the diseases to enable people to report the health problems in order to be treated immediately," Yuniati stated.
Malnutrition in 2017 decreased compared to 2016. In 2016, as many as 403 people were affected by malnutrition, while in 2017, a total of 214 people suffered from malnutrition, resulting in the death of 16 people.
Patients affected by malnutrition were found scattered across districts and cities in West Nusa Tenggara Province.
As of October 2017, there were 31 cases of malnutrition in Mataram City, 30 cases in West Lombok, 30 cases in Lombok Utara District, 24 cases in Central Lombok, and 60 cases in East Lombok.
Then, there were 3 cases in West Sumbawa, 18 cases in Sumbawa, 18 cases in Dompu, 11 cases in Bima District, and 9 cases in Bima City. The total cases covered 214, consisting of 109 men and 105 women patients. Most cases of malnutrition occurred in East Lombok.
In an effort to overcome malnutrition experienced by school-aged children in East Nusa Tenggara provincial capital of Kupang, the Health Ministry has distributed additional food assistance, in the form of biscuits.
Head of Kupang City Health Office, Arie Wijana, remarked in Kupang recently that the local Health Office has received 450 bales of biscuits, as the central governments aid for 2017, which will be distributed in 2018.
The additional food assistance is intended for toddlers, schoolchildren, and pregnant women.
The Health Office has assigned 11 health community centers to distribute the additional food to 11 schools in areas with the highest malnutrition in Kupang City, such as the villages of Oesapa, Kampung Solor, Bonipoi, Pasir Panjang, Naioni, Kuanino, and Tuak Daun Merah.
School-aged children will receive the biscuits during school health activities.
Pregnant women will get the additional food during pregnancy check-ups at all integrated service posts scattered across various villages in Kupang City.
Source: ANTARA News