Vietnamese live longer, yet suffer many diseases: survey

By Thuy Quynh   December 19, 2020 | 02:03 am PT
Vietnamese live longer, yet suffer many diseases: survey
Elderly people attend a yoga class at the National Geriatric Hospital in Hanoi, October 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Thuy An.
In Vietnam, women live up to 77.1 years but spend 11 being sick while men spend eight of their 74.4 years ill.

Nguyen Hong Quan, chairman of the Vietnam Association for Community Health Education, said the average life expectancy of Vietnamese is higher than that of many countries with the same per capita income, but their health is weaker.

The latest data provided by the General Statistics Office (GSO) states elderly people make up 12 percent of Vietnam’s population of 95 million. The rate is expected to rise to 17.9 percent in 2025 and 23.5 percent by 2050.

For now, around 60 percent of elderly people suffer chronic diseases with each contracting three to six on average, including metabolic disorders, musculoskeletal pain, and diseases related to cardiovascular, neurology, respiratory, digestive, hearing and visual problems.

According to GSO, from 1989 to date, the average life expectancy of Vietnamese has continuously increased, from 65.2 in 1989 to 73.6 last year, 1.6 years higher than the global average.

Nguyen Xuan Truong, head of Population Structure and Quality under the Ministry of Health’s Directorate of Population and Family Planning, said 95 percent of elderly people in Vietnam fail to access healthcare services.

The reasons include limited financial capacity, which accounts for 45.3 percent of the cases, difficult travel conditions (17.3 percent), and inadequate medical conditions in their localities (16.5 percent), he said.

Tran Thi Dung, director of the healthcare support and advice center for the elderly at the Vietnam Association of the Elderly, said the Vietnamese mindset in general, mostly focused on building a career, getting married, buying a house and building a family, has caused many to spend their entire youth and middle-age working and taking care of their children and spouses without paying enough attention to healthcare.

"Major body parts start to age when people turn 35 and improper eating and exercise habits will speed up that aging process," Dung said, explaining that once the body starts to age, it would make a person vulnerable to disease and impede easy recovery.

go to top