Chandra Asmara – Indonesia has reduced its stunted growth prevalence to the lowest in over two decades, boosting President Joko Widodo's chances of hitting the 14% national target by the end of his second and final term next year.
The percentage of growth stunts among kids under 5 years of age fell to 21.6% at the end of last year from 24.4% in 2021, as the number of malnourished children continued to decline, Jokowi, as the president is known, said in a briefing on Wednesday.
That's the lowest rate since at least 2000, the earliest data available on the World Bank's website. Still, according to WHO, a public health problem can be considered chronic if the prevalence of stunting is more than 20%. The cause of stunting is low nutritional intake, particularly in the first 1,000 days of a person's life. Other factors include poor sanitation and the lack of access to clean water.
Jokowi is trying to reduce stunting that's estimated to cost about 2%-3% of Indonesia's gross domestic product. The president revived a program in 2021 to promote healthy family life, which includes a campaign to limit the number of children in a household to two and a goal to lower stunting to 14% next year.
As a comparison, Malaysia's stunting rate was about 20% in 2020, according to the World Bank data, while in other Asian countries such as Singapore and China, the rates are less than 5%.