The Right Child Nutrition for the First 1,000 Days of LifeFriday, 13 April 2018
Are you aware that the future of your child is determined from the nutritional intake received since pregnancy? According to the Directorate of Nutritional and Community Health of The National Development Planning Ministry, the golden period for this is within the first 1,000 days of life of the child. This period starts from the occurrence of fertilization up to the age of 2 years. If this golden period is not utilized as well as possible, the growth and development of the child may not be optimal. This may also cause the child to be at risk of suffering from permanent disorders. The main threat during the golden period of the child is malnutrition. According to the data released by the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition affects up to 2.6 million children every year worldwide. Furthermore, in 2010, it was documented that 171 million children under 5 years old suffered from growth disorders due to malnutrition. If children do not obtain adequate nutritional intake during this golden period, they are at risk of physical and cognitive disorders. According to Prof. dr. Endang L. Achadi, MPH, DPH from Universitas Indonesia, one of the risks that may occur due to malnutrition in the golden period is a restriction in the physical growth, which may lead to stunting. Stunting is a condition where the child is short for their age, and generally occurs before the age of 2 years. Other risks include a lack of optimal motor development and disturbances in cognitive function. What can be done to ensure that the child undergoes an optimal growth and development process in this critical period? The following points may be beneficial: Pregnancy Period:
- The mother should obtain adequate iron, folic acid, and protein intake. Receiving adequate nutrition promotes placental development and supports fetal brain development.
- Other than that, adequate iodine intake is also important to prevent cretinism, which is a disease affecting brain structure that may lead to mental retardation.
- Be cautious of tapeworm infections and malaria, which may potentially cause anemia and eventually fetal growth restriction.
- Provide exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months.
- Provide (MPASI) for children aged more than 6 months.
- Provide complete basic immunization, including hepatitis B, BCG, polio, DPT, and measles.
- Provide protection from tapeworm infections and malaria.
- Provide supplementation for iron and vitamin A, iodized salt, as well as zinc for diarrhea.
- Rice or brown rice porridge cooked using water or meat/vegetable broth.
- Boiled and pureed vegetables and nuts. These vegetables and nuts may include peas, red beans, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, yellow pumpkin, and green beans.
- Pureed fruits, such as papaya, banana, apple, melon, and avocado.
- Selected beef that do not contain fat.
- Fish, preferably boneless, such as fresh snapper, gindara, or salmon.