One in four Vietnamese children under the age of 5 is stunted

Professor Tran Huu Dang, Chairman of the Vietnam Diabetes Endocrinology Association, shared this information at the kick-off ceremony Happy Vietnam Project January 17. Over the past 10 years, the rate of stunting children in Vietnam has decreased rapidly but still quite high.

According to Professor Dang, there is still a big gap between urban and rural areas, especially in remote, mountainous and disadvantaged areas. The rate of stunting children in the Northern mountainous region is 28.4%, the Central Highlands is 32.7% and the Central region is 25.4%.

Reported by UNICEF in Vietnam, health and nutritional deficiencies cause 1.9 million children under 5 years of age to stunt, leaving permanent brain and physical damage. Malnourished children are susceptible to respiratory and intestinal infections. All of the child’s organs are underdeveloped, such as the musculoskeletal system, which directly affects height and stature.

“The high rate of stunting compared to other countries in the region has led to certain disadvantages for Vietnam,” said Professor Dang. Children have difficulty in learning, affect their ability to work at adulthood, low income, productivity and overall growth of the country are hindered.

Doctor examines and advises on height retardation in children in Ho Chi Minh City. Image: Le Phuong.

Professor Dang analyzed many causes of this situation. Due to poor appetite, anorexia or inappropriate diet. Pregnant mothers eat poorly or do not have enough essential substances, causing the child to be malnourished. Children with congenital diseases such as growth hormone deficiency …

“The child’s height is only 20% due to heredity, while 80% is due to factors of nutrition, exercise, and the environment”, Professor Dang said. At home, many parents lack nutritional knowledge and practice. There is a lack of quantity and quality in the staff of nutrition workers in the community, school or hospital. Currently, 57% of Vietnamese people lack vegetables, excess salt, excess alcohol …

The child’s height growth process is divided into several stages. Nutrition for the first 1,000 days of life plays a very important role. From the age of four on, parents need to pay more attention to height growth. If the baby’s height increases by 4-6 cm per year or is always near the lowest curve for age (according to the height monitoring chart), the baby should be examined early to find the cause.

Happy Vietnam Project implementing training and counseling programs for two years to raise awareness and capacity of teachers, medical staff at hospitals, parents and children, to help reduce the rate of stunting children. Project activities take place in 7 provinces and cities, in areas with high rates of stunting and malnourished children such as Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Nong, Hanoi, HCMC. HCM City.


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