“More than 2 million were stunted due to malnutrition, equivalent to 26.7 percent of the total under-5 children, while around 1.2 million were underweight, making up 16.2 percent of all under-5 children,” said the National Institute of Nutrition’s Communication Centre director Trinh Hong Son at a press conference recently.
Son said that the speed of reducing stunting from malnutrition was slower compared to previous years in all localities nationwide.
The country currently still has 21 provinces and cities with stunting rates at above 30 percent of under-5 children and 17 localities with an underweight rate above 20 percent.
Central Highland Kon Tum Province was the country’s locality with the highest stunting rate at more than 40 percent.
Son also warned about rapid increase of the obesity rate among children in Vietnam. The obesity rate in children has increased 5.6 percent in 2010, nine times the rate in 2000.
Experts said that development of people’s height and physique are defendant up to 80 percent on nutrition, environment and exercise. Therefore, regimes with reasonable nutrition would help children in comprehensive physical development.
A nutrition and development week, entitled “Ensure nutrient security and Food Safety for people’s health,” will be launched nationwide by the National Institute of Nutrition from October 16 to 23.
The week aims to enhance the community’s knowledge and people’s awareness on the prevention of malnutrition through the improvement of daily family meals.
During the week, the institute will collaborate with the agriculture and rural development sector to promote knowledge on gardening and husbandry as well as daily nutrition among families, especially those in mountainous, remote and natural disaster-prone areas.
The communication campaign will focus on encouraging people to eat more nutritious food; teaching food safety and hygiene habits; and confronting children’s malnutrition and obesity prevention issues. (PNA/VNS)