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The Average Height of Vietnamese Children Increased, but So Did Obesity Rates

Vietnam's children are getting taller, but also wider.

Tuoi Tre reports that the 2020 National Nutrition Survey was recently released, with both good and bad news in the data. The survey covered 22,400 households in 25 provinces and cities through 2019 and 2020.

The headline figures are that the average height of 18-year-old Vietnamese men has increased by 3.7 centimeters since 2010 to 168.1cm, while the average for women of the same age grew by 1.4cm to 156.2cm. These growth rates over a decade are a good sign compared to 2.1cm for men and 1cm for women from 2000 to 2010.

According to the news source, in the century prior to 1975, the average height of Vietnamese people did not change, while it has grown an average of 1.1cm per decade since 1975.

Worryingly, childhood obesity has surged since 2019, when just 8.5% of children from 5 to 19 years old were considered obese, a figure that hit 19% last year. These rates vary widely by region, with 26.8% of children obese in urban areas, compared to just 6.9% in highland parts of Vietnam.

This is part of overall changes in the diets of Vietnamese people, with the average person consuming more calories per day than in 2010, including an average of 136.4 grams of meat per day, compared to 84g a decade ago. In cities, that figure is 155.3g.

People are also eating more fruit and vegetables on average, but these amounts still do not reach the recommended daily requirements.

Back in 2019, data by Fitch Solutions Macro Research showed that from 2010 to 2014, the number of obese Vietnamese increased by 38%, the most in Southeast Asia and among the highest in the world, even though the total number of people classified as obese was only 3.6%, the lowest in the region.

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