Vietnamese getting taller, fatter and unhealthier
Updated : 09/09/2012 08:40 GMT + 7
Vietnamese adults are about 4cm taller and 8 kilograms heavier on average than they were in 1975 when Vietnam War ended, according to a study conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition based on research in 2009 and 2010.
The average height of adults in urban areas is higher than those in the countryside, added the study that was made based on a survey of thousands of people randomly selected in 64 provinces and cities country-wide.
However, urban areas faced the problem of childhood obesity as 5.6 percent of children under the age of five were overweight and 2.8 percent suffered from obesity.
In wealthy urban areas including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the obesity and overweight rates among children under five reached an alarming number of 6.5 percent.
In the meantime, there was a steady rise in the weight of Vietnamese adults between the age of 50 and 60 with 7.8 percent of men from 55 to 59 years old and 10.9 percent of women from 50 to 55 being overweight and obese. The corresponding rate of those above age 20 is 5.6 percent (4.9 percent for men and 6.3 percent for women).
Dr. Le Danh Tuyen of the National Institute of Nutrition said 10 years ago, protein took up 11 percent of calories in daily meals but now rose to 15 percent, which is believed to be the main cause behind the high rates of obesity and overweight.
He added the volumes of meat consumed by each Vietnamese on average have sharply increased as each person consumed 30.3 kilograms of meat per year, 3.7 kilograms more than a South Korean citizen.
The study’s results also showed Vietnamese people have not taken in enough green vegetables. In 2010, the consumption of this had dropped to 190g per capita per day, compared to 214 g in 1985.
Tuyen said Vietnamese people should consume meat at a rate of 50-60g per person per day, while the advisable rate for fish and seafood-derived food is 100-150g per person per day, and for green vegetables, 300g per person per day.
Meanwhile, Associate Professor Nguyen Thi Lam, vice director of the institute, said food ration of Vietnamese children has yet to meet nutritional demand regarding energy, calcium, iron, and vitamin despite the fact that they are overfed.
34 % of children under 5 malnourished
According to the inquiry, Vietnamese children also suffered growth deficiencies as 34 percent of children under age five were malnourished while 30 percent and 34 percent under this age lacked zinc and iron, respectively.
“This is the main reason why Vietnamese are unhealthier and grow slower than those in neighboring countries like Thailand and China where the average height increases by 2cm every 10 years on average, 1cm taller than the Vietnamese,” Lam was quoted as saying.
Vietnam hopes to increase the average height of men to 167cm and women to 157cm by 2020, according to a government project with focus on developing Vietnamese people’s physical strength and height.