The South East Asian Nutrition Surveys (SEANUTS) is a large nutritional study conducted in several countries in Southeast Asia (1). For Indonesia SEANUTS was conducted in 48 districts/cities in 2011, using a cross-sectional design. The total study population consisted of 7211 children aged 0.5-12 years, who lived in both rural and urban areas (2). SEANUTS aimed to provide insight into the health status of children by measuring dietary intakes, food habits, nutritional status, growth, body composition, physical activity, and cognitive development and performance. This article covers some results of SEANUTS Indonesia.
Dietary intake and nutritional status
In half of the selected study areas, one-day dietary recalls were performed to assess the dietary intake of children (2). Intakes of energy, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A were calculated and were compared to the Indonesian Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Overall, high percentages of children did not meet the RDA of the measured nutrients. For example, more than 80% of children (both urban and rural) in the age group 5-12 did not meet the RDA for energy, calcium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin A (2). For protein this was more than 50%. In the age groups 0.5-1.9 and 2.0-4.9 the percentages were generally lower, but still high: for most nutrients at least 40% of children did not meet the RDA (2). Generally, the percentages of children not meeting the RDA were higher in rural areas than in urban areas (2).
To measure nutritional deficiencies, blood samples were collected (2). In these blood samples, iron, vitamin A and vitamin D concentrations were measured. Overall, about 18% of children in both rural and urban areas suffered from anaemia (2). The highest prevalence was found in children aged 0.5 to 1.9 years in urban (54%) and rural (57%) areas, which forms a large public health problem (2). The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was also high: this was found in 43% of children living in urban areas and 44% of children in rural areas. Prevalence of vitamin A and iron deficiency was low: this was found in less than 10% of children (2).
Growth and body composition
Stunting is a major problem in Indonesia. The overall prevalence was found to be 39% in rural and 25% in urban areas (2). Likewise, underweight was more prevalent in rural areas (29%) compared to urban areas (19%). Wasting was prevalent in 6% in both rural and urban areas (2). The prevalence of overweight and obesity was also measured, and was found to be twice as common in urban areas (11%) compared to rural areas (5%) (2).
Physical activity patterns of children aged 6 to 12 years were measured with the use of pedometers and by measuring screen time (3). Pedometers were used for two consecutive days, and daily physical activity was defined as the average number of steps from these two days. This was then categorized as either active ( ≥ 15.000 steps/day (boys), ≥ 12.000 steps/day (girls)) or inactive (< 15.000 steps/day (boys), < 12.000 steps/day (girls)). Time spent behind a screen was categorized into less than two hours a day or two hours a day or more (3).
Most Indonesian children had a low physical activity pattern: more than half of the children were categorized as inactive (57%) (3). This was found to be higher in boys (63%) compared to girls (52%). 55% of children spend two hours or more behind a screen. This percentage was higher in children from urban areas (59%) compared to children from rural areas (52%) (3).
- Schaafsma, A., Deurenberg, P., Calame, W., Van Den Heuvel, E. G., Van Beusekom, C., Hautvast, J., . . . & Khouw, I. (2013). Design of the South East Asian Nutrition Survey (SEANUTS): a four-country multistage cluster design study. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(S3), S2-S10.
- Sandjaja, S., Budiman, B., Harahap, H., Ernawati, F., Soekatri, M., Widodo, Y., . . . & Khouw, I. (2013). Food consumption and nutritional and biochemical status of 0· 5–12-year-old Indonesian children: the SEANUTS study. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(S3), S11-S20.
- Harahap, H., & Cahyo, K. N. (2013). Pola Aktivitas Fisik Anak Usia 6, 0–12, 9 Tahun di Indonesia. Gizi Indonesia, 36(2), 99-108.