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Malnutrition Study: ‘Unhealthy Snacks’ EMO-DEMO Game

By Yusli Harini, Health Team Leader

This June, as part of the 4th year of our 5-year malnutrition study “Developing family-based nutrition intervention in Ban Village,” - in collaboration with Udayana University Medical Faculty - in our family gatherings with families of children under 2 years old, involving 61 mothers, accompanied by their husband and/or in-law, etc., we used the “Unhealthy Snack” EMO-DEMO (Emotional Demonstration) game, following on from our 2022 malnutrition study findings, that consumption of unhealthy snacks is still a problem among children under-2 years old.

Through this game, we demonstrated the effects of unhealthy snacks when entering a child’s stomach by mixing various types of unhealthy snacks, they usually give to their children, in a glass (which represents a baby’s stomach) and then pouring hot water over them. Parents were then invited to observe the colour, consistency and smell of this unhealthy snack mix, then discuss how they feel about it.

The results are stunning! After being directly involved in the activity of putting unhealthy snacks into a glass, parents admitted that they feel uncomfortable if this unhealthy snack mixture is actually in their child’s stomach, after seeing the disgusting and bad consistency of these unhealthy snack mixtures. We then discussed the negative effects of consuming unhealthy snacks for children’ growth and development. Together with the parents, we also compiled a list of healthy snack recommendation, using local ingredients that the whole family can also consume and enjoy.

Seeing these amazing results, we are optimistic that parents will start replacing their children’s snacks with healthier foods, so that their children’s nutritional needs can be fulfilled and hopefully avoid stunting.

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