Faced with global crises and rising food prices, people on low incomes are reducing or skipping meals. As the problem grows, it is likely that many will suffer deficiencies in macronutrients, including energy and protein. For countries with a young population such as Indonesia, the flow-on effects could deliver a heavy burden.
Children are one of the most vulnerable groups, with malnutrition posing a significant threat to their growth size, intellectual ability, economic productivity, reproductive performance, and sometimes survival. The irreversible educational and economic losses this could cause are motivating leaders to come up with better strategies and monitoring systems.
While there are several types of undernutrition found in Indonesia, the government has targeted a reduction of stunting – low height for a child’s age – to 14 percent by 2024.The city of Surakarta on the island of Java wants to go further. Its ambition is to reduce stunting to zero by 2024.
Women are playing a key role in Surakarta’s pilot program. There are several risk factors in antenatal care that can affect the incidence of stunting in children, including the age of pregnant women, anemia and depression during pregnancy, nutritional status of pregnant women and health literacy. The city government, particularly the health department, also has an important role in orchestrating its program which extends to planning, financing, logistics and condition monitoring of toddler nutrition.