Vietnamese are 4cm taller in 35 years

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VietnamNet English - 70 month(s) ago 17 readings

Vietnamese are 4cm taller in 35 years

VietNamNet Bridge – The average height of adults in Vietnam at present is 1.61 meters, four centimeters higher compared to that of 35 years ago, according to a national survey on nutrition.

According to the survey, released by the National Institute of Nutrition on April 4, the average height of kids of less than one year old has increased by 1.4cm (boys) and 1.8cm (girls) in the last ten years. The increase is over 2cm on average for children of 3 years old upwards.

The average heights of Vietnamese men and women are 164.4cm and 153.4cm.

The survey, released by the National Institute of Nutrition on April 4, also shows that the volumes of meat, fish, eggs and milk consumed by Vietnamese people per capita have sharply increased over the past 10 years.

The average amounts of meat, fish, and egg-milk consumed by one person have increased significantly over 10 years, from 51, 46, and 10gr in 2000 to 84, 60, and 30gr in 2010, respectively.

However, the survey indicates that Vietnamese people have not taken in enough green vegetables. In 2010, the consumption of this food category dropped to 190gr per capita per day, compared to the 214gr in 1985.

Dr. Le Danh Tuyen, deputy head of the National Institute of Nutrition, said Vietnamese people should eat meat at a rate of 50-60gr per person per day, while the advisable rate for fish and seafood-derived food is 100-150gr per person per day, and that for green vegetables is 300 g per person per day.

One out of three children under five suffers from malnutrition, causing serious developmental defects, the survey says.

Around 17.5 percent of pre-school children (1.3 million) are underweight and 29.3 percent (2.1 million) experienced stunted growth in 2010.

Another alarming finding was that children in remote areas suffer the consequences of malnutrition at a rate twice as high as those who grew up in more developed regions of the country.

Other scientific studies have proven that the effects of malnutrition go beyond the potential growth rate of individual children, but can also have an impact on the social and economic development of the country.

Other problems revealed by the survey included an obesity rate among children, standing at nearly 6 percent. Higher rates of 12-15 percent were recorded in large urban areas, such as HCM City and Hanoi.

Since 2006, the childhood obesity rate for children under five has seen a six-fold rise.

"We face two challenges. On the one hand, malnutrition remains a problem in much of the rural area of Vietnam, particularly in mountainous regions. At the same time, urban areas are facing the problem of childhood obesity. The situation requires quick action so we don't make the same mistakes as middle-income countries," said Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.

Rajen Kumar Sharma, a representative from UNICEF, said, "Although there has been a notable reduction of growth-stunting over the last few years, the number is still much higher than they should be. These disparities in health and nutrition reveal underlying socio-economic factors at play."

The Vietnamese Government has launched a National Nutrition Strategy Plan through 2020, with a vision towards 2030. The overall goal of the strategy is to improve the physical and mental well-being of the population by ensuring adequate nutrition.

The strategy focuses on improving the quality of meals and providing mothers with information about good nutritional practices, to minimize the negative effects of obesity and malnutrition. An important part of the program is also to educate the adult population about dietary standards.

The survey included over 37,000 people from 8,400 households, and was spread across 63 provinces and cities nation-wide.

Lan Phuong

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