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Nutritionist proposes ‘10,000 steps a day’ walking movement for Saigonese

Wednesday, December 28, 2016, 16:10 GMT+7

Ho Chi Minh City residents should try to walk at least 10,000 steps a day to improve health and fight diseases related to lack of exercise, a nutrition expert has advised.

Do Thi Ngoc Diep, director of Ho Chi Minh City Nutrition Center, gave the advice at a meeting between city officials and intellectuals on Tuesday, expressing her wish that a movement will be launched based on her idea.

Walking 10,000 steps a day helps improve health and prevent chronic non-communicable diseases and overweight, Diep told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, citing recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to Diep, malnourished children in Ho Chi Minh City make up for 4.1 percent of those under five years of age, compared to the country’s percentage of 14.6, while the average height of the city’s elementary students are also 1.2 centimeters higher than WHO’s world average.

Both figures are positive health indicators, Diep said, though they are not enough to balance out that around 41 percent of students between six and 18 years of age in the city are overweight or obese, according to latest statistics by the municipal Department of Health.

The southern metropolitan also boasts Vietnam’s highest rates of high blood pressure and diabetes, even comparable to some developed countries, Diep added.

The health expert attributed the fact to the expanding urban lifestyle in Ho Chi Minh City, saying lack of exercise and unbalanced diets were to blame for increasing health problems of its citizens.

“Public space for exercise is also extremely limited, with crammed school yards, few and encroached parks, rugged pavements, and faraway sporting facilities,” Diep explained.

Diep suggested establishing a public campaign to encourage the city’s residents to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, which would not only improve the citizens’ health but also their productivity.

The goal can be achieved by renovating the city’s pavements, opening new public spaces, and building parking lots at least 15 walking minutes away from shopping malls and public transport stations to encourage exercise among citizens, Diep said.

“Ho Chi Minh City is looking to become a smart city with good quality of life for its residents, so this is just a part of realizing that goal,” Diep stressed.

Diep also expressed her wish that city’s leaders may also join in the campaign to inspire other citizens.

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