Dangers of Stunting in Children
Stunting is a serious condition in children, namely a condition of failure to thrive caused by chronic malnutrition, and is characterized by a child's height being below the average or very short child, and his body not growing and developing properly according to his age. It lasts for a long time. Stunting in children should not be taken lightly. If not treated, this condition can interfere with brain development and reduce the child's mental ability and intelligence level. This condition is triggered by several factors since infection in the mother's womb, which include infection in pregnancy, malnutrition (malnutrition) in pregnant women, suboptimal nutrition in infants from birth to the first two years of life, recurrent infections, or poor stimulation from the environment. A child is said to be stunted if he has a shorter height than other children his age or if the child's height is below the standard growth curve established by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2020, Indonesia will occupy the 2nd position for the highest number of stunts in Southeast Asia. According to data from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, about 1 in 3 Indonesian toddlers is stunted.
Causes of Stunting in Children
The cause of stunting in children occurs due to a lack of nutritional intake in children in the first 1,000 days of life, namely since the child is still in the womb until he is 2 years old. Stunting in children can be caused by problems during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or after, such as inadequate complementary feeding.
Characteristics of Stunting in Children
The general characteristics of stunting in children can be seen from the child's stunted stature when he reaches the age of 2 years. The child may also have a thin body (wasting) or his body development is not in accordance with normal. Although it looks short and thin, the child's body is still proportional. But keep in mind, not all short children are called stunted.
In addition to experiencing growth disorders, here are some signs of stunting in children:
-Experience a decrease in intelligence level, speech disorders, and learning difficulties
-Has a low immune system, making it easier to get sick, especially due to infectious diseases
-Risk of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity as an adult
All of the characteristics of stunted children are the impact of lack of nutrition, frequent disease, and bad parenting in the first 1,000 days of a child's life.
How to prevent stunting in children
The way to overcome stunting is to provide children with adequate nutrition from the womb, after birth, and during the growth period.
Learn how to prevent stunting in the following children:
1. Fulfill Nutrition During Pregnancy
Pregnant women should eat a healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy, even before conception. This is to ensure that the fetus will receive optimal nutrition in the womb, be born healthy, and also receive good nutrition after birth.
2. Fulfill Your Little One's Nutrition Optimally
The way to prevent stunting is to provide your baby with complete nutrition and a nutritious diet. Important and essential nutrients for your little one are vitamins (A, B complex, C, D, E, and K), minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium, potassium, and chloride), protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, and liquids. After that, parents are advised to give their little one nutritious milk that is appropriate for his age. The benefits of milk are to maintain the immune system, support the growth of bones and teeth, produce energy, nourish the brain, and support the growth and development of children as a whole.
3. Practicing Proper Hygiene
The problem of stunting can also be triggered by poor environmental hygiene. Therefore, parents and all family members should practice proper hygiene, for example, washing their hands with soap and running water before and after preparing food.
4. Overcoming Children Who Have Difficulty Eating
One of the triggers of malnutrition is the result of children who have difficulty eating. There are several reasons why a child won't eat, including food allergies or intolerances, reflux, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, colic, or other more serious health conditions. Parents can apply ways to deal with children who have difficulty eating as follows:
-Provide a variety of healthy and diverse foods.
-Completes balanced nutritional needs, including one third fruit and vegetables, one-third carbohydrates such as rice, and one-third protein such as meat, fish, or other vegetarian protein sources.
-Consumption of healthy drinks such as milk, home-made tea, vegetable and fruit juices, infused water, yogurt, and others.
-Give your little one healthy snacks such as fruit slices, vegetable salads, oatmeal, cheese, or other delicious homemade preparations.
5. Meeting with the Health Service Team
Parents must be painstaking in giving their little one a balanced, nutritious diet every day. In addition, it is important for regular child health consultations at the Posyandu, Puskesmas, or the nearest health service center. The doctor will help check the child's health and provide the best advice for the child's growth and development. Meanwhile, parents must also care for and pay attention to the details of their child's growth from time to time.
If Hermina's friend wants to consult about stunting in children, you can immediately consult a pediatrician at the Hermina Hospital Depok.