Childhood is a time period of major growth during which adequate quality and quantity of micro and macronutrients is required. The age of 1-3 years is a “golden” stage distinguished by rapid development and growth of the brain. Several children are underdeveloped due to low nutritional ingestion and frequent illness because of unhealthy environments1.
The Basic Health Research stated that there are still many children with nutritional problems in developing countries and also in Indonesia, moreover this problem is still considered as a community nutritional issue2.
Majority of the times stunted growth may be acquired in the uterus. The nutritional status of pregnant women, even before they are pregnant, will affect the growth of the fetus. Undernourished pregnant women are at risk of giving birth to babies with low birth weight, which is the main cause of stunting. After birth, babies who are inadequately breastfed are at risk of contracting various infectious diseases due to poor nutrition and unhygienic diets.
Babies’ diets determine their growth. After the age of 6 months, children will need sufficient and safe sources of micronutrients and macronutrients. Socio-economic status, supply of food, clean water and access to primary health care facilities will have an impact on the prevalence of stunting stature3.
Stunted growth throughout childhood is a risk factor for augmented mortality, weakened cognitive skills and motor development and impaired bodily functions. This motivated the Indonesian researchers to conduct a new study in which they assessed assess the change in stunting status from 0-24 months to 36-60 months of age, while also identifying the effects of diet and breastfeeding duration on the stunting status of children less than five years of age4.
The study was a non-experimental analytical study and used a retrospective cohort or non-concurrent cohort design. Both dependent and independent t-tests were used in the statistical analysis. The study showed that 62% of the subjects were of normal stature, while 32% were short-statured.
Female children tend to be considered frail compared to males, which explains the extra affection and attention. Moreover, male children are more physically active, which means that they burn more calories5.
This study was affected by several limitations. Relocating previous subjects was much difficult, as this was a follow-up of a study conducted 3 years prior. A handful of subjects had moved to new addresses or had stopped visiting maternal and child health centers, prompting us to allocate additional time and resources.
- Zahraini, Y., 2013. 1000 days: Changes live changes the future.
- Ministry of Health, 2010. Indonesian basic health research.
- Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia, 2017. Nutrition project and community based health to prevent stunting.
- Terati, Yuniarti, H. and Susanto, E., 2018. Effects of Diet and Breastfeeding Duration on the Stunting Status of Children under 5 Years of Age at Maternal and Child Health Centers of the Palembang Regional Office of Health. J. Nutri., 17: 51-56.
- Rosha, B.C., Hardinsyah and Y.F. Baliwati, 2012. Determinant analysis of stunting children aged 0-23 months in poor areas in central and East Java). Penel Gizi Makan, 35: 34-41.