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Nov 10, 2022 / 12:07

Hanoi sets targets for higher adult height by 2030

Hanoi's targets are feasible thanks to an adequate nutritional regimen coupled with a better diet and physical exercise.

Hanoi has set a target for the average height of adult men and women to reach 170.5 centimeters (cm) and 159 cm by 2030, respectively, according to the municipal Department of Health.

The department said it expects the average height of 17-year-old men and women to rise to 169 cm and 158 cm by 2025.

In 2021, the average heights of 17-year-olds of both sexes in the capital were 168.8 cm for males and 157.4 cm for females, the department said, adding that these figures marked corresponding increases of 2.4 cm and 0.2 cm since 2016.

 A male student of Hanoi-Amsterdam High School for the Gifted. Photo: Ngoc Tu/ The Hanoi Times

Nguyen Thi Lam, former deputy director of the National Institute of Nutrition under the Ministry of Health said that a national nutrition report of 2021 revealed that Vietnamese have grown taller over the past decade.

“Vietnamese men and women grew about 3.7 cm and 1.4 cm to an average height of 168.1 cm, and 156.2 cm, respectively, from 2010 to 2020. After 10 years, the height of Vietnamese citizens has changed significantly, especially among males aged over 18. Male’s height gained 5.8 centimeters from 2000 to 2020,” Lam said.

Therefore, she asserted the feasibility of the Hanoi Department of Health’s height targets thanks to a more adequate nutritional regimen together with a better diet and physical exercise.

“However, many drastic and consistent measures need to be carried out, starting with taking care of nutrition and physical exercise of children in school and at home,” Lam stressed.

According to medical experts, height is not entirely determined by genes, but also by many other factors, including gender, nutrition, environment, psychology, physical activity, and sleep.

Among them, genetic factors determine about 23% of the height and this factor cannot be changed. Nutrition plays the largest role in determining height, accounting for around 32%. It is followed by physical exercise (22%). The rest are environmental factors such as sleep, air, emotion, among others.

In order to increase the height of Vietnamese youth, nutritionists recommend that parents need further improve their understanding of the importance of the first 1,000 days of life (from pregnancy and after the baby is born) and the importance of micronutrient supplementation.

The next favorable period for growth is puberty, between the ages of 10 and 16 for girls and between the ages of 12 and 18 for boys. It is considered the last "golden period" for developing a child's height. With good nutritional care and reasonable physical exercise, children can grow between 8 and 12 cm a year until they are 20 years old.

Vietnam currently ranks fourth in Southeast Asia for average height, after Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia, according to the Ministry of Health.