Vietnamese 3 centimeters taller over last decade

By Dang Khoa   January 6, 2021 | 10:55 pm PT
Vietnamese 3 centimeters taller over last decade
Students play jumping rope at an elementary school in Ben Tre Province, southern Vietnam, in February, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nam.
Vietnamese are getting taller with the average height for men and women last year growing by 3.7 and 2.6 centimeters, respectively, compared to 2009.

The National Nutrition Census 2020, released by the Ministry of Health at a conference Wednesday, stated the average height for men rose to 168.1 centimeters and women, 156.2 centimeters.

In Southeast Asia, Vietnamese are only shorter than people in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

The study measured the height of people born in the 2000s, who reached adulthood in 2020 and benefited from a thriving economy with many healthcare programs.

The rate of stunted children under five years old decreased to 19.6 percent, considered a low level according to World Health Organization classification, it found.

In 2018 the Vietnamese government launched a nation-wide Zero Hunger program with the goal of lowering malnutrition rates and stunted growth through improved nutrition and sustainable food production.

Data collected since the late 1990s shows the proportion of those undernourished in Vietnam dropped from 19.8 percent to 6.4 percent, wasting in children slipped from 9 percent to 5.8 percent while the nation's child stunting rate has been cut from 42.9 percent to 23.8 percent between 2002 and 2019, according to the 2020 Global Hunger Index.

The government launched another program in 2013 aimed at improving the nutrition and physical health of its citizens, which could increase the average height of the population. The $285 million project targets that by 2030 the average height of women and men would have increased to 157.5 centimeters and 168.5 centimeters.

The U.S.'s World Population Review in September 2019 ranked Vietnamese the fourth shortest people in the world, with an average height of 162.1 centimeters, taller only than Indonesians, Filipinos and Bolivians.

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