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Know the Benefits of Essential Amino Acids from Milk for Every Phase of Life

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One of the drinks needed for child growth and development is milk. A myriad of nutrients such as protein are needed by children for healthy growth and development.

Professor of FKM UI in the Field of Public Health Nutrition, Prof. Dr. drg. Sandra Fikawati, MPH., explained that protein consists of chemical compounds consisting of amino acids whose function is to build and regulate body cells.

“The body needs 20 types of amino acids, and 9 of them are essential amino acids obtained from food. What kind of food? Animal protein has more complete amino acids than vegetable protein. Milk is one of the best sources of animal protein, “said Prof. Fikawati several last time reported by Antara.

“This more complete essential amino acid will support hormonal work in the body, including growth hormone,” he continued.

This means that in children who lack the intake of essential amino acids, the body will experience a lack of growth hormone. This then causes disruption of cell regeneration so that the body does not grow properly, it can even interfere with the immune system.

“As a result, muscle mass does not increase which makes it difficult for children to develop or grow. Then they often get sick because their immune system is weak, it can also lead to stunting which then affects cognitive impairment.”

Malnutrition Causes Stunting

As for stunting, according to dr. Kurniawan Satria Denta M.Sc. SpA., is the result of inadequate nutritional intake for a long time or conditions of poor nutritional status that are left for a long time.

“If you are malnourished, you usually don’t gain weight, but if you are stunted, your height will also be affected,” he said.

In children who have experienced stunting, it will be more difficult to recover than other disorders of nutritional status or growth.

“Besides being short, the damage caused by stunting has reached the brain. And things are difficult to recover!” said Dr. Kurniawan, who practices at Mayapada Hospital, Jakarta .

The government targets the prevalence of stunting in 2024 to only be 14 percent. The stunting rate in 2021 is 24.4 percent. This means that the government must reduce the prevalence of stunting by 2.7 percent every year. To achieve this target, specific interventions have been prepared.

Director of Nutrition and Maternal and Child Health, Ministry of Health, Dr. Erna Mulati, MSc-CMFM explained that what is meant by specific interventions are interventions that are carried out before and after the child is born.

Interventions before the child is born, continued Erna, include prenatal care, early detection of health problems, including nutritional problems of pregnant women, which directly affect fetal growth. While the intervention after the child is born is the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for up to 6 months, the provision of complementary foods by prioritizing the intake of foods high in animal protein, to monitoring the growth and development of toddlers.

So at what age should animal protein be introduced to children? In accordance with the recommendations of WHO and IDAI, the first 6 months of children only get breast milk without other additional foods. After 6 months, they were introduced to various animal and vegetable proteins.

“It must be remembered that the principle of complementary feeding is food with complete and balanced nutrition. So it must also contain carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. MPASI cannot be a single menu, for example, only side dishes, vegetables or fruit,” said dr. Kurniawan.

More dr. Kurniawan said, starting with complementary feeding, milk can act as a complementary source of animal protein. Other sources of animal protein are meat, fish, or eggs. For children over 1 year, continued dr. Kurniawan,

“In addition to growth milk, UHT milk or pasteurized milk can also be given,” he explained.

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