Stunting is one of the chronic nutritional problems in Indonesia. The prevalence of stunting in Indonesia is quite high, ranked number 2 in Southeast Asia (1). Based on Riskesdas 2018, the prevalence is 30.8% and it is estimated to decrease to 26.92% in 2020 (2, 3). However, this figure is still within the upper threshold for stunting prevalence which is 20% set by WHO. This is an important problem that needs to be addressed together either by the government or by the community.
Stunting or short toddlers is a condition of failure to thrive that occurs in children under five due to chronic malnutrition, especially in the period of the First 1,000 Days of Life (HPK) (4). Stunting conditions are generally caused by low nutritional intake and health status for a long time, lack of access to sanitation and clean water resulting in repeated infections, and inadequate parenting (4).
Early detection of stunting can be done by monitoring the child’s growth curve regularly. Mothers should regularly monitor their child’s growth and development by visiting the nearest Posyandu in the neighborhood. The cadre will explain how the child’s weight and length/height are based on their age category. Toddlers are categorized as stunted when the Body Length index for Age (PB/U) or Height for Age (TB/U) with a z-score is in the range of less than -2 SD (short) to -3 SD (very short) (4).
Stunting prevention needs to be done as early as possible. Similar to what has been said by Prof. Dr. dr. Nila Djuwita F. Moeloek, SpM(K), that “If we prevent it earlier since we are young girls, the better results will be. Behavior change is needed because preventing stunting is important!”. The government together with the Ministry of Health has also compiled stunting prevention programs to reduce stunting prevalence in Indonesia, such as (5):
- Giving 90 pieces blood supplementation during pregnancy
- Providing additional food for pregnant women
- Handling pregnant women with an expert doctor or midwife
- Implementation of breastfeeding early initiation
- Exclusive breastfeeding for babies up to 6 months old
- Complementary feeding for 2 years old children (from 6 months to 24 months)
- Immunization and vitamin A supplementation
- Monitoring growth and development of toddlers through Posyandu activities in the neighborhood
- Implementing clean and healthy living behavior
If not prevented and handled properly, stunting can have a negative impact on the quality of human resources.
- Short-term impact: stunting can cause stunted growth in children, impaired brain growth, cognitive and motoric disorders of children, metabolic disorders, and physical size of children’s bodies do not develop optimally according to their age (4,6).
- Long-term impact: stunting can cause children intellectual capacity which has an impact on decreasing learning concentration and difficulty understanding the material presented at school, so that it can affect learning achievement and productivity as an adult, decreased immunity/immune, and the risk of developing degenerative diseases (4,6).
- Asian Development Bank (ADB). Prevalensi Stunting Balita Indonesia Tertinggi ke-2 di Asia Tenggara. [Online].; 2020 [cited 2022 April 3. Available from: https://databoks.katadata.co.id/datapublish/2021/11/25/prevalensi-stunting-balita-indonesia-tertinggi-ke-2-di-asia-tenggara.
- Sekretariat Wakil Presiden. Angka Prevalensi Stunting tahun 2020 Diprediksi Turun. [Online].; 2021 [cited 22 Desember 21. Available from: https://stunting.go.id/angka-prevalensi-stunting-tahun-2020-diprediksi-turun/.
- Kemenkes RI. Hasil Utama Riskesdas 2018. Jakarta; 2018.
- Kementerian PPN/Bappenas. Pedoman Pelaksanaan Intervensi Penurunan Stunting Terintegrasi di Kabupaten/Kota Jakarta: Kementerian Perencanaan dan Pembangunan Nasional/Badan Perencanaan dan Pembangunan Nasional; 2018.
- Kemenkes RI. Warta Kesmas: Cegah Stunting itu Penting. [Online].; 2018 [cited 2021 April 3. Available from: https://kesmas.kemkes.go.id/assets/upload/dir_519d41d8cd98f00/files/Warta-Kesmas-Edisi-02-2018_1136.pdf.
- Adistrie F, Lumbantobing VBM, Maryam NNA. Pemberdayaan Kader Kesehatan Dalam Deteksi Dini Stunting dan Stimulasi Tumbuh Kembang pada Balita. Media Karya Kesehatan. 2018 Desember; 1(2).