DEPUTY Health Minister Datuk Lukanisman Awang Sauni has expressed concerns about the potential impact of the increasing cost of living on children’s nutrition, leading to stunted growth.
He highlighted that rising prices, especially of essential goods like rice, might prompt parents to provide their children with cheaper but less nutritious, food options.
“I am concerned about the rising cost of living, such as the price of rice and nutritious essential goods, as this could lead parents to obtain cheaper food (for their children).
“Pregnant women too, may not be getting the right nutrition to ensure that their child is born healthy,” said Lukanisman during the Minister’s Question Time in the Parliament today.
The Sibuti MP encouraged parents to dedicate time to prepare nutritious meals for their school-going children. He cited an example from a Chinese school in Muar, where parents initiated a programme to provide nutritious meals for all students and teachers with the support of the community.
Moreover, he emphasised the importance of parents taking the initiative in ensuring their children receive healthy meals. He suggested that parents investing time in cooking nutritious meals at home could significantly contribute to children’s interest in healthy foods, thereby promoting their overall well-being.
“I see this method as the best option, especially if we rely solely on initiatives like the government’s Supplementary Food Programme in schools, as sometimes the providers (of these meals for students) only offer sausage with rice.
“Perhaps parents can spare more time to cook nutritious meals. This will allow children to be more interested in home-cooked and healthy food.”
In 2018, a report by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) revealed alarming statistics about Malaysian children’s health.
One in five children in working-class neighbourhoods including low-cost flats experienced stunted growth while one in 10 was underweight. The study also indicated that Malaysian children were at a disadvantage compared to some of its ASEAN neighbours in terms of overall health and nutrition. – Nov 1, 2023
Main photo credit: Jabatan Penerangan Malaysia