The Vietnamese Government has just approved the National Strategy on Nutrition for the period of 2021-2030 with a vision to 2045, aiming at improving its citizens’ stature and health.
Under the plan, Vietnam sets specific targets for the next ten years on implementing a varied, reasonable and safe food diet for all ages. Particularly, percentage of children of 6-23 months with the healthy diet will reach 80% by 2030, the proportion of households with severe and moderate food insecurity will decrease by less than 5% and fall below 20% in mountainous areas by 2030.
In addition, the percentage of schools with menus meeting the Ministry of Health’s recommendations on ensuring appropriate nutrition and dietary diversity will reach 90% in urban areas and 80% in rural areas by 2030.
The National Strategy on Nutrition promises to create a generation of Vietnamese youth with good height and health. Photo: Xuan Hoang
The strategy set targets to reduce the rate of stunting children under 5 years old to less than 15% and under 23% in mountainous areas by 2030, the rate of under-nutrition and underweight children under 5 years old will fall to less than 3% by 2030.
The National Strategy on Nutrition for the 2021-2030 period aims to increase the height of Vietnamese youth by 2-2.5cm for men and 1.5-2cm for women. In this regard, it is necessary to improve the nutritional diets of mothers, children and adolescents.
Other important tasks set in the strategy are controlling overweight and obesity; preventing chronic diseases; improving micronutrient deficiencies in children, adolescents and women of childbearing age.
Under the plan, it is expected that by 2025, all provinces and cities at risk of being affected by climate change, natural disasters and pandemic will have a response plan, evaluate and implement nutritional interventions to improve people’s life quality.
In the field of sports, this strategy is expected to create new young talents thanks to their better height and health than previous generations. Vietnamese sports are also expected to reach continental and world levels in the near future.
Malnutrition has been mainly blamed for Vietnamese people’s shortness compared with their peers in countries in Asia and Europe, according to the National Institute of Nutrition.
The National Nutrition Census 2020 results showed that Vietnamese people gain 4 centimeters in height over last 10 years. Particularly, the average height of men rose to 168.1 centimeters and women to 156.2 centimeters. Compared to peoples of other countries in the region, Vietnamese people are, on average, about 8 centimeters shorter.
The clearest difference in height between Vietnamese people and others is seen in children aged 6-12 months old and 6-11 years.
Nutrition experts affirmed that genetic heredity is not responsible for Vietnamese people’s shortness. Vietnamese children who are born and grow up in Europe are as tall as those in their host country.
The foetal stage and the first two years of their life are essential for children’s height and weight, so it is vital to correctly provide micronutrients to children during those periods.
Earlier, in 2018, the Vietnamese government launched a nation-wide National Action Plan on Zero Hunger with the goal of lowering malnutrition rates and stunted growth through improved nutrition and sustainable food production.
The US's World Population Review in September 2019 ranked the Vietnamese the fourth shortest people in the world, with an average height of 162.1 centimeters, taller only than Indonesians, Filipinos and Bolivians. In Southeast Asia, Vietnamese are shorter than people in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.