Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Initial statistics from the 30 districts and townships of the capital city show that Hanoians are taller by two to three cm compared to 10 years ago.
Now, the average height of males is 166cm and of females is 155cm.
Nguyễn Đình Lân, head of the municipal department of population and family planning, said that while the average Hanoian’s height has seen improvement and is higher than the national average, the height of Hanoian adolescents pale in comparison with their counterparts in developed countries in the region.
According to experts, in other countries, a lot of effort is put into helping increase children’s height, and gymnasiums, stadiums, and swimming pools are indispensable components of kindergarten and primary schools. However, this does not happen in Việt Nam, where physical education usually gets attention only in secondary or high secondary schools – an issue that needs to be remedied.
This idea is among one of the contributions for the project, ‘Improving physical fitness of Hanoians until 2020’ (with a vision towards 2030) that the municipal health department is seeking public feedback on. The project aims to get Hanoians’ fitness levels at par with people in developed countries in the region in 10 to 15 years, to ensure a high-quality labour force, which would contribute to the capital’s sustainable development.
Experts said the first three years of life determine a child’s physical development, and since only a healthy mother can bear a healthy baby, maternal care must receive special attention.
Appreciating the importance of the project, Lân cited examples such as the considerable increase in height of the Japanese – a rise by 10cm – in 20 to 30 years. Before the 1950s, the Japanese and the Vietnamese shared largely the same height.
A nutritional survey done in 2010 in Việt Nam showed that in 35 years, Vietnamese people had achieved a meagre height increase of 4cm. The adult male’s height was 164.4cm, while the adult female’s height was 153.4cm, which is 15.4cm and 10.3cm lower than the global average, respectively. — VNS