Lack of milk blamed for 'stunted' Vietnamese children

By    September 15, 2016 | 12:21 am PT
Officials say that drinking more milk will help Vietnamese reach a new high.

Vietnamese people currently drink 15 liters of milk annually, far below the international average of 103.9 liters, government statistics show.

In the Southeast Asian region where people drink about 60 liters per year, the average milk consumption in Vietnam is half of that in Thailand and about one third of Singapore, official figures show.

Vietnam has set a goal of boosting the average height of its population by 4cm within the next decade. By 2030, the average Vietnamese man will be 168.5cm tall, and the average woman will be 157.5cm.

The World Health Organization has listed Vietnam in the top 20 countries with the highest number of stunted children. About 25 percent of Vietnamese children, or 1.9 million of them, are on average 10 centimeters shorter than their Asian peers due to malnourishment.

The average height has risen only between 1cm and 1.5cm over the past 10 years due mainly to poor eating habits, heath experts said.

The typical Vietnamese diet is heavy in protein but lacking in calcium. Traditional meals in Vietnam only meet 60 percent of recommended calcium requirements.

Minerals such as vitamins A and D are also pivotal in determining height, but the daily diet of Vietnamese people only meets about 10 percent of the necessary amount.

Vietnamese people also don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables and they consume too much salt on a daily basis.

According to a joint study by the World Health Organization and the Health Ministry, more than half of Vietnamese people are failing to eat at least 400 grams of fruit and vegetables per day, while their average salt intake is 9.4 grams, twice as much as the daily recommended amount.

A greater problem for Vietnam is alcohol intake. The average citizen consumes nearly twice as much beer as milk, official figures show, or about 27.4 liters of beer to 15 liters of milk per person per year.

Over the past five years, Vietnam has doubled its annual beer consumption to more than 3 billion liters, making its people the heaviest beer drinkers in the region, the third in Asia after Japan and China, and in the world’s top 25 heaviest beer drinkers.

In 2013, the Vietnamese government launched a campaign, which was estimated to cost $285 million, to improve the nutrition and physical health of its population, which aimed to increase the average height of 18-year-olds by at least 4cm from the current 164.4cm for boys and 153.4cm for girls.

Related News:

>Vietnamese people shorter than other Asians

>A quarter of Vietnamese children stunted by poor diets

>Vietnamese diet: Too much salt and not enough fruit and veg

>Boozing leads to stomach cancer hike among young Vietnamese

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