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Childhood obesity at alarming level in five major cities

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Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho have 88,000 overweight or obese children, accounting for nearly 30 percent of the country’s total number of such children, a report released at a recent seminar says.

Some obese children are seen in this photo illustration


The figures were announced at a symposium on nutrition among urban children recently held by the Sociology and Medicine Institute.

Nguyen Anh Tuan, an expert from the HCMC Health Department, also pointed out that at many schools in the city, one of every five students is obese or overweight.

Many six-year-old children weigh as much as 40 kg, while many one year-olds weigh up to 20 kg, Tuan said.
Meanwhile, the average weights for the two age groups are 20 kg and 11-12 kg, respectively, Tuan said.

Other experts also said that in central HCMC, the proportion of obese children is higher than the global average.

Urban children often consume large amounts of meat, fish, eggs and milk, while some children in mountainous and remote areas suffer from malnutrition and need help.

High milk, soft drink consumption rates

According to statistics on the rations of urban children between the ages of two and five by Dr Le Thi Bach Mai, deputy head of the National Nutrition Institute, children in southeastern provinces are leading the country in consumption of meat, powder milk, cheese, fresh milk, canned milk, and seafood.

Particularly, children there consume fresh and canned milk at a rate of 228 grams per child per day, which is double the country’s average rate of 135 grams.

In addition, children in the region also consume soft drinks (with sugar) at a rate that is three times higher than the country’s average. 

In areas with high rates of obese children, fat substances accounts for 30 percent of total energy received by children through their diets, said Dr Truong Hong Son, from the Institute.

The reality is that as children grow up, their body’s demand for fat drops, but their mothers continue to feed them more fat.

Continuous surveys on obese or overweight children in Vietnam since 2004 show that the rate of such children in Vietnam has increased at an alarming rate, said UNICEF.

Specifically, the rate of obese or overweight children in Vietnam increased by 5-11 percent per year from 2004-2011, but since 2011 the rate has climbed to 15-21 percent.

According to a UNICEF expert, such an increase is very high and needs to be constrained soon.

Dr Son also warned about the health risks of obese children, such as cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and diabetes, and called for efforts to reduce the rate of obese children.

Many children around the age of nine even suffer from type-2 diabetes, Son warned.

In order to reduce obesity in children, parents should apply proper diets and encourage them to exercise regularly and adopt reasonable study schedules.


Source: Tuoitrenews

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