Why do Vietnamese people live longer?

Socio-economic development, a nutritious life, good access to health care, and good conditions for exercise such as jogging, gym, yoga… help the Vietnamese people’s life expectancy to increase.

Experts on population and social issues make the above comments when analyzing the reasons for the increased life expectancy of Vietnamese people. In the past 30 years, from 1989 to 2019, the average life expectancy of Vietnamese people increased by 8.4 years, from 65.2 to 73.6. This shows that Vietnamese people tend to live longer. Experts from the General Department of Population, Ministry of Health, said that increasing life expectancy is one of the great achievements in socio-economic development in general and health care in particular, showing the quality of life. human better.

As Mr. Trong Tuyen, an ordinary resident in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, shared: “Life is getting better and better, my family is now not lacking anything, so I just hope everyone is healthy and has a long life.” .

Tuyen works in a small business, his family consists of a husband and wife, two children in middle school, living with his mother over 70 years old, his father died early. For many years, Tuyen and his wife have been jogging every morning, and doing yoga and gym together in the afternoon. At the threshold of nearly 50 years old, when he felt his health decline day by day, he and his wife became more and more aware of the need to exercise. A business with a good income helps the family not to worry much about finances and have time to take care of themselves. Every year, the couple has a periodical health check-up, with the reason that “do not want to become a burden when old age becomes a burden for children and grandchildren”.

Tuyen’s two children play sports such as swimming, soccer, cycling, badminton… to practice. The children were reminded by their parents to limit eating fast food, instead each meal was weighed and measured individually. His mother has always known how to enjoy her old age and is still healthy and lucid. Every day, she participates in nutrition classes, meets and exchanges friends, exercises, and eats healthy food.

It is a fact that life expectancy of Vietnamese people increases mainly in areas of socio-economic development, while in many mountainous areas life expectancy increases slowly, leading to quite wide regional disparities. According to the Human Development Index (HDI) report released by the General Statistics Office at the end of March, of the six regions across the country, the average life expectancy of people in the Southeast region is the highest and the Central Highlands has the lowest. . The five localities with the highest average life expectancy in the country in the period 2016-2020 are Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai (76.5 years old), followed by Ba Ria – Vung Tau 76.4, Da Nang 76.3, Tien Giang 76.1. Following is Can Tho City 76; Ben Tre, Long An, Vinh Long with 75.6; Hau Giang and Hanoi are 75.5 years old.

Meanwhile, the provinces with low life expectancy are Lai Chau 65.8; Kon Tum 66.8; Ha Giang, Dien Bien 67.8 and Quang Tri 68.2. Thus, the average life expectancy in the highest region compared to the lowest region is more than 10 years apart.

Professor Nguyen Dinh Cu, former Director of the Institute of Population and Social Affairs, National Economics University, commented differences in levels of economic and social development, access to medical services is the main cause leading to the current life expectancy gap between regions. In particular, the economy and society in Ho Chi Minh City in particular and the Southeast region in general thrive, people are provided with better nutrition and medical care, thereby living longer.

This difference primarily affects child mortality, according to Professor Cu. For example, in 2019, the infant mortality rate in Lai Chau was 39.6%., 5.4 times higher than Ho Chi Minh City (7.3%), while the under-5 mortality rate in Lai Chau is more than 5.6 times higher than Ho Chi Minh City. High child mortality will drastically reduce life expectancy.

Life is developed, people have easy access to health care; quality food or drinks, a more hygienic environment. When the level of education is high, people are also more interested in health, actively seek training methods such as jogging, gym, yoga, nursing… Therefore, better health, lasting longer longevity.

In fact, some developed regions such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi or the Southeast provinces have better economic conditions than the Central Highlands or the Northern Midlands and Mountains. Associate professor, Dr. Giang Thanh Long, National Economics University, expert on population aging, said that the development of health, healthy living environment, fresh, quality food … has caused mortality to decrease and life expectancy to increase.

“For example, in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, if you have a health problem, you can have convenient access to health care, or proactively get periodic health checks to check for health problems. As for the provinces. In mountainous, remote areas, the Central Highlands… it’s still difficult for people to go to the commune health station when they have an illness, let alone go to the district or provincial hospital,” said Mr. Long.

In addition, convenient services in developed areas create conditions for people to have many opportunities to do what they like. They spend a lot of time outdoors, socializing with friends, getting enough sleep, eating light and healthy, living optimistically… since then, their health improves.

People exercise in a park when Ho Chi Minh City ends social distancing, October 2021. Photo: Quynh Tran

Customs and traditions are also a factor affecting life expectancy. Professor Cu said that the mountainous and highland provinces still have customs and practices that adversely affect the health of adults and children such as smoking, alcoholism, child marriage and inbreeding… These factors contribute to increased mortality and reduced life expectancy.

In addition, careless behavior causes work accidents, traffic accidents and other accidents that often lead to death, thereby also reducing life expectancy. This situation is significantly different between relatively developed areas and poor areas in our country. In 2019, the number of deaths due to accidents (labor, traffic and other accidents) in Lai Chau accounted for 10.7% of the total number of deaths in the province, this rate in Quang Tri was up to 14.7 %… Meanwhile, Ho Chi Minh City, which has the highest population and population density in the country, but the fatality rate from all kinds of accidents accounts for only 3.8% of the total number of deaths. The death rate from traffic accidents in Lai Chau is 1.7 times higher than in Ho Chi Minh City, and 6.5 times higher in Quang Tri.

A point worth noting, according to experts, is that the conflicts in life are not resolved in time, leading to an increased suicide rate. According to the results of the 2019 Population and Housing Census, the death rate from suicide accounted for 3.4% of all deaths in the Central Highlands; the Northern Midlands and Mountains region is 1.7%, much higher than HCMC (0.7%) and the Mekong River Delta (0.4%).

According to Dr. Long, many people still think that when there is a disease, it can be cured by folk methods, without going to a medical facility… leading to a worsening condition that is not detected and treated in time. This factor contributes to affecting health in particular and reducing life expectancy in general.

The reason Vietnamese people live longer - 1

Life expectancy of Vietnamese people in the past 30 years. Graphics: Carried into

Around the world, studies show that developed countries have higher life expectancy rates, such as Japan. At the end of 2021, the Japanese Ministry of Labor, Health and Welfare said that the healthy life age in Japan had reached a “record high”, reaching 75.38 years old for women and 72.68 years old for men. Along with that, the average life expectancy of Japanese people is the highest among the G7 countries, reaching 81.41 years for men and 87.45 years for women. Healthy living age is defined by the population industry as the age of living in a healthy, disease-free life; while the average life expectancy is calculated including years of illness and healthy living.

The question often asked is “why are more and more Japanese people living to be over 100 years old?”. Experts say that the reason is in a healthy diet, enjoying old age, knowing how to take advantage of advanced products and technologies. Not only the Japanese, some regions of Italy, Greece… have the highest percentage of elderly people in the world, thanks to people eating and living in moderation.

The Japanese Ministry of Health has also explained that in developed countries, the advancement of medical technology, the standard of living is improved thanks to public hygiene, food quality, and living environment are improved… reduce mortality and increase life expectancy.

Professor Cu recommends that when life expectancy increases, to protect health and avoid diseases, elderly people should pay attention to principles such as reducing salt, fat and sugar, eating refined, not raw; exercise regularly so that the body can circulate blood, the spirit is always happy (forgive, forget, less angry, not resentful…); Use more supplements to make up for the lack of substances in the body. In particular, people must have regular health check-ups every 6 months to detect diseases early and treat them promptly.

Thuy Quynh


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