One of the nutritional problems that may arise as a result of the poor quality of the food consumed is stunting in children. Stunted (short stature) or called as body length per height low ratio toward the age is used as an indicator of chronic malnutrition that describes the history of child malnutrition in the long term.
"There is one expert who set short stature is the condition when the body length or height according to the age in line with sex of a child less than 5 percentile standard," said Prof. Hamam Hadi, M.S., Sc.D., Sp.GK, Head of Health Nutrition Study Program Faculty of Medicine UGM, on the sidelines of the preparation of the National Seminar on Optimization of Stunted Child Potential in Indonesia at Ghra Wiyata Faculty of Medicine UGM on Friday (1/10).
Hamam Hadi was present with several other members of the committee, among others, Dr. dr. Radjiman, Toto Sudargo, SKM, M. Kes and R. Dwi Budiningsari, SP, M. Kes.
Short children may possibly be caused by poor nutrition intake or suffering from recurrent infectious diseases. In Indonesia, more than one third (36.1%) of school-age children in Indonesia is short when entering school age which is the indicator of chronic malnutrition. Unfortunately, the decline in the number of children who experienced stunted is not very significant every year.
"As an illustration, child malnutrition in 2007 was 18.4% and 17.9% in 2010. While that stunted in 2007 was 36.8%, in 2010 it slightly fell to 35.6%," he explained.
Stunted is a further manifestation as a result of high rates of Low Birth Weight Baby and malnutrition in infancy as well as the absence of a perfect growth improvement achievement in the next period. Therefore, in the school-age children many malnourished children are found. Children who suffer severe stunted not only have shorter physical stature, but also their cognitive function is affected.
In the view of Hamam, the number of toddlers who experience stunted in Indonesia is relatively high compared to that in some neighboring countries. India is currently listed as a country that has quite a high rate of stunted. Hamam admitted, although the rate of stunted patients dropped nationally, but in some regions it has increased.
"In NTT, for example in 2007 it reached 46.7% but this year it rose to 61.4%. This showed that the government has actually still to work harder to quickly resolve this issue," Hamam said.
From year to year, the handling of nutritional problems in Indonesia is not going to finish if done partially. Poverty and hunger have become one of the main agenda of today's world concern, as told in the Global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). MDGs assert that in 2015 every country reduces poverty and hunger by half of the previous level in 1990.
"In addition, two of the five indicators as an interpretation of the first MDG's goal is to decrease malnourished prevalence among infants and the declining number of residents with energy deficit," Hamam added.
The seminar that will bring together nutrition and health experts will involve, among others, health workers in health centers and hospitals, a professor of medicine and health, nutrition observers and students.