PETALING JAYA: The health ministry will focus on making the price of baby formula and protein food staples affordable, to overcome the problem of stunted growth among children because of malnutrition.
“It’s easy to ask parents to buy milk and healthy food but the bottom line is the price,” he told reporters at a press conference in Putrajaya.
Khairy said stunted growth should not be taken lightly as it affected mental, physical, and social health and could also be fatal.
In 2019, it was reported that 21.8% of Malaysian children suffered stunted growth.
Khairy said children of all levels of society were affected, regardless of household income, ethnicity, employment and education levels, and whether the children came from urban or rural areas.
Khairy said Pahang, Kelantan, Terengganu, and Putrajaya recorded the highest rates of stunted growth in Malaysia.
When asked how Putrajaya, which is categorised as an urban area, had a high prevalence of stunted growth, Khairy said an in-depth study had to be done to identify the real contributing factors.
“Various factors influence the stunted growth rate such as the health literacy rate, environment, work culture, and access to childcare.
“The fact that Putrajaya is known to be a high-income territory but faces the problem of stunted growth and obesity means there is something wrong.”