Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The malnutrition rate among children under five from ethnic minority communities is double that of Kinh children, experts said at a seminar in Hà Nội today.
The seminar, “Nutrition for Ethnic Minority Children: Current Situation and Approaches”, was jointly organised by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Save the Children in Việt Nam and World Vision International in Việt Nam.
“Stunted growth rate among ethnic minority children under five is more than double that of Kinh children, while their obesity rate is half the rate of Kinh children,” said Trần Thành Đô from NIN.
He said that underweight and stunted growth rates among ethnic children stood at 21 per cent and 31.4 per cent, respectively, in 2015, compared to 8.5 per cent and 15 per cent in Kinh children. The obesity rate of ethnic minority children was 3.3 per cent, compared to 6.3 per cent in Kinh children.
“The malnutrition rate has reduced in the past five years, but it is a slow change,” said Đô. “The stunted growth rate has risen rapidly for under two-year-olds and stays high between two and five years among both ethnic minority and Kinh children. The underweight rate has also increased dramatically for children under two, but beyond it slows down.”
Đô said the practice of breastfeeding infant and young children among ethnic minority mothers was better than Kinh women, but the quantity and quality of food supplements were poor.
At the seminar, experts shared the latest research on malnutrition among ethnic minority children, discussed the best practices and possible ways of integrating malnutrition intervention measures into local economic and social development plans.
Participants also talked about matters such as analysis of nutritional status of ethnic minority children, intervention models and good practices, and shared the lessons learned during implementation of intervention programmes.
Recommendations focused mainly on measures to provide a diverse diet, improving the quality and quantity of children’s meals, and providing micronutrient supplements for ethnic minority mothers and children.
Experts also discussed how to improve the communities’ living conditions and their access to food and health services, as these will contribute towards tackling the problem of malnutrition.
The seminar’s results will lay an important foundation for further research on children from ethnic minority regions, direct nutrition intervention models for ethnic minority children and suggest how to successfully implement the National Nutrition Action Plan till 2020. — VNS