Vietnam bans sale of soft drinks in schools: PM

By Minh Nga   December 25, 2017 | 12:29 am PT
Advertisements of soft drinks and other ‘unhealthy products’ are also being blacklisted, said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Soft drinks will be prohibited from all school canteens across Vietnam in an effort to improve children’s health and height.

Advertisements of the sweetened beverage and other “unhealthy products” are also banned from schools, said a new directive signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The nutrition and health conditions of Vietnamese children should have received greater public attention and been taken more seriously, the directive reads.

Nearly a quarter of Vietnamese children are undernourished while the number of overweight kids is rising, especially in big cities, it said, adding that the average height of Vietnamese people is still well under that of many other countries.

The PM also requested schools to closely work with families to ensure student are more physically active, and receive nutritious meals which comprise enough vegetables, fruits and not too much salt. 

In September, the Ministry of Finance suggested imposing a special consumption tax rate of 10 or 20 percent on sweetened beverages by 2019, saying the tariff aims at tackling obesity and related illnesses.

A study conducted by the Vietnam National Institute of Nutrition last year found that around 6 percent of children under five years of age in Saigon were undernourished, and the matter was especially serious in rural districts.

The obesity rate hit 19 percent among school-age children last year, according to the city’s health department.

They found that obesity levels have been increasing faster in downtown areas, where the average income and living standards are higher.

The proportion of obese Vietnamese children aged from 2 to 19 had stretched to 6.8 percent, according to another study by the University of Washington released in June.

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