About two million Vietnamese children under five years old have not met the height standard of their age group, facing risks of being short and having a low body mass when they fully grow up.
About 24.6 percent of Vietnamese children under the age of five suffered stunted growth, 0.3 percent lower than the preceding year, 24.9 percent, according to a 2015 survey by the Vietnam National Institute of Nutrition.
The proportion of underweight youngsters of the same age group was 14.1 percent, while the rate was 14.5 percent in 2014, the survey showed.
A significant number of nutritionally stunted children came from the Central Highlands and northern mountainous locales, at 34.2 and 30.3 percent respectively.
The data also showed that 21.6 percent of children in the Central Highlands had a low body mass and the rate was 19.5 percent for those in the northern mountainous community.
The issue is mainly attributed to malnutrition caused by shortage of nutrients, an imbalance diet, diseases, and poverty, according to Le Danh Tuyen, director of the nutrition institute.
Tuyen added that more children living in rural areas, especially poor communities, are subject to nutritional deficiency than those residing in urban regions.
A lack of knowledge about children feeding practices is another factor leading to malnutrition, he said.
“Many parents do not have a proper understanding of nutrition needs during pregnancy, thus resulting in prenatal malnutrition,” Tuyen said.
“Some pay little attention to their kids’ stages of development, which also leads to improper feeding practices and regimes.”
Micronutrient shortage in children was also reported.
In Vietnam, one in four kids under five years old suffers from anemia, while 43 percent of children of two years of age or younger contract the condition due to poverty, according to the Vietnam National Institute of Nutrition.