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Ministry: Food rations should be given to children according to their age group

Jakarta (Antara) – Indonesia’s Ministry of Health has urged parents to provide healthy food and rations for their children according to their age group.Acting Director of Nutrition, Maternal and Child Health (KIA) at the ministry, Ni Made Diya Permata Laxmi said in Jakarta on Monday.

Laxmi emphasized that the first 1000 days of life (HPK) is a golden period for a child’s development. During that period, parents should pay attention in maintaining their growth and development.

She noted, “As an attempt to prevent stunting in children from an early age, children between the ages of 0-6 months should be exclusively breastfed by their mothers. Breast milk is considered capable of meeting all the needs of children of this age,” she noted.

After the baby is more than six months old, the breast milk content is less able to meet the baby’s nutrition. Hence, at this age, parents can slowly introduce complementary foods (MPASI), rich in balanced nutrition in animal protein, carbohydrates and fats.

“Parents should be able to provide animal protein, fat and carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables can be introduced but priority should be given to fats from animal protein,” she said.

According to Laxmi, the World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends that children be given animal protein, such as catfish, anchovies or eggs, especially during the 1,000 HPK period to prevent stunting in children.

“The data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States shows a low consumption of eggs, although it is very good for tracking the growth of children. The consumption of protein obtained from animals, such as meat, is also low, and compared to other countries, our consumption is less than 40 grams, while in Australia it is already more than 160 grams.

Laxmi said that parents can gradually give their children two or three main meals, followed by one or two side dishes.

In children 6-8 months of age, MPASI should be given in a soft consistency by filtering it. Then, after entering the age of 9-11 months, the texture of the food can be coarser like chopped food.

When the child reaches 11 months of age or enters 12 months, parents can slowly begin to introduce food of a similar consistency to adult food offered through three to four heavy meals along with one or two snacks.

“Every time a child eats, animal protein, such as eggs or fish, must be provided to maintain children’s growth and prevent stunting,” she said.

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