Lack of calcium cripples elderly Vietnamese

By Bui Hong Nhung   April 8, 2016 | 04:37 pm GMT+7
A diet that relies heavily on protein and lacks calcium causes most Vietnamese people over the age of 70 to suffer from bone and joint related disorders, according to Bui Thi Nhung from the National Institute of Nutrition.

According to a survey conducted by the institute, the average annual milk consumption in Vietnam is 11 liters per person. That is just half the amount consumed in Thailand and a third of Singapore's intake.


The institue suggests Vietnamese people should consume three dairy products each day.

Since 1985, daily portions of calcium have ranged from 500 to 540 milligrams per person in Vietnam, equivalent to 50 to 60 percent of the recommended intake, said Le Bach Mai, deputy director of the institute.

Even this small amount of calcium is neutralized as Vietnamese people favor salty diets. Each person consumes about 15 miligrams of salt per day on average, three times higher than the recommended figure. In addition, a diet that relies heavily on protein also increases the excretion of calcium in urine, Mai added.

The director said that vitamin D, which facilitates calcium absorption, also makes up only a small part of the Vietnamese diet, just 10 percent of the recommended amount.

Along with bone disorders, Vietnamese people are highly likely to suffer fatigue, high blood pressure and rectal cancer if they do not increase their calcium intake.

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