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Oct 18, 2022 / 15:55

Hanoi to reduce rate of malnutrition, overweight and obesity

Hanoi's important tasks are controlling overweight and obesity, preventing chronic diseases and addressing micronutrient deficiencies in children, adolescents and women of childbearing age.

The Hanoi People's Committee has just issued a plan to reduce malnutrition, overweight and obesity in accordance with the National Strategy on Nutrition in 2022-2030.

Accordingly, Hanoi authorities have asked the city's districts to communicate about reasonable nutrition for people in the malnutrition, overweight and obesity groups to improve height, physique and intelligence.

The city wants to reach 78% of children aged 6-23 months with a healthy diet by 2025 and 80% by 2030. The proportion of adults consuming a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables per day will be 65% by 2025 and 70% by 2030.

In addition, the percentage of schools with menus meeting the Ministry of Health's recommendations to ensure adequate nutrition and dietary diversity will reach 70% by 2025 and 90% by 2030.

 A doctor guides a mother on a suitable diet for her kid to avoid overweight and obesity in Hanoi. Photo: Duy Anh/ The Hanoi Times

Besides, the city strives to ensure that by 2025, 80% of pregnant women and mothers with children under two years of age receive nutrition counseling in the basic primary and preventive health care package and 100% by 2030.

Other essential tasks are controlling overweight and obesity; preventing chronic diseases; addressing micronutrient deficiencies in children, adolescents and women of childbearing age.

According to municipal People's Committee statistics, Hanoi has met and exceeded all targets under the Vietnamese Government's National Nutrition Strategy for 2011-2020. However, the city is still facing issues with nutrition, such as the increasing rate of overweight and obesity and the gap between urban and suburban areas.

The rate of overweight and obesity among school-aged children increased from 18.6% in 2017 to 22.7% in 2021.

Only 38.3% of adults practice physical activity at the recommended level in 2021; people's average salt intake is as high as 9 grams per day (in 2016). These are risk factors causing nutrition-related chronic non-communicable diseases.

Thus, Hanoi faces a dual nutrition problem: the proportion of stunted children remains relatively high (11.8%), while overweight and obesity in both children and adults are increasing rapidly. These problems must be solved synchronously in the future to reduce the disease burden and improve Hanoians' height, physique and intelligence.

In January 2022, the Vietnamese Government approved the National Strategy on Nutrition from 2022 to 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 to implement a varied, reasonable and safe food diet for all ages.

According to recent nutrition research conducted by the National Institute of Nutrition under the Ministry of Health, the prevalence of overweight and obese children in Vietnam, especially in big cities, like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, has more than doubled in the past ten years.

By 2020, the National Institute of Nutrition said that for every 100 children between the ages of five and 19, 19 are either overweight or obese, a sharp increase compared to the figure of 8.5 in 2010.

"Overweight and obese rates are on the rise across all age groups and in both urban and rural areas, leading to an uncontrolled increase in dietary-related non-communicable diseases," the institute warned.

It added the survey results showed that the national strategy on nutrition for the 2011-2020 period achieved many significant results. However, it has not addressed micronutrient deficiencies or overweight and obesity rates among adults.