Rie Watanabe, Japanese
We can't say Vietnamese people aren't interested in healthy activities. It's easy to find people, especially the elderly, doing exercises every morning in parks and public areas. In the evening you can hear the sounds of aerobic music where women gather to do exercises together.
We can't blame the lack of places or facilities either. There are two big parks with lots of green trees, two swimming pools and at least three gym clubs just a five to 15 minute walk from my home.
I think the reason why some think Vietnamese aren't healthy is that people, especially the young, are too busy and rely too much on motorised vehicles. If someone needs to practice more, they must give up their motorbikes or electric bicycles and simply walk. That's a good way to exercise.
Le Nguyen Phu Huu, Vietnamese, HCM City
As a 12-year-old student at secondary school in HCM City, I think only a small number of Vietnamese people are interested in healthy activities. For example, only elderly people and some teenagers in my neighborhood go to the park in front of my house to exercise and play sports every morning.
I don't think it is because of the lack of public places and decent facilities, such as gyms or sports fields. It is just that people are too busy or they are too lazy. It is easy for me to find a place to exercise. The Government should send letters to each district to ask people to wake up and remind them to do exercise.
Srinivasan Venkt, Indian, Bangalore, India
When I lived near Ben Luc, Long An, I'd walk to the local market which is about three kilometres away. My Vietnamese friends were puzzled why I chose to walk the distance when I could easily go by Honda.
The need to exercise is a concept not much appreciated by local Vietnamese, at least in the smaller cities and towns. An annual five or 10km walk can be organised with attractive prizes to make people aware of the benefits of exercise.
This would create publicity for exercise programmes, especially with the help of sponsors. On the positive side, most Vietnamese seem to be in good health, as it is, without diabetes or hypertension, mainly due to healthy diets.
Nguyen Hoang Minh, Vietnamese, HCM City
From the perspective of an 11-year old student at Hai Ba Trung School in HCM City, Vietnamese people are very lazy. It is not because of the lack for public places or facilities. I do not find it difficult to find a place to exercise.
It may be because adults hesitate to spend time playing or teaching their kids the joy of outdoor exercise. They are not setting good examples for their children. I suggest that we build a propaganda campaign with family competitions.
John Haywood, British, Ha Noi
I live in Ha Noi and although I have only been here a short time, I think reports complaining about lack of exercise in Viet Nam are nonsense. I eat terribly, I'm lazy, I don't exercise and I'm two metres tall. It's genetics that determines your height!
I do however think that there should be more open spaces (with fines for dog walkers who don't clean up after their dogs) and gyms that are affordable for the average Vietnamese. One thing I haven't seen here are State-funded sports centres where people can go for a swim, play tennis, football or other sports.
Robert Fries, American, Texas, US
When in Viet Nam, I live in Binh Thanh district of HCM City. From my experience and observation, Vietnamese people seem interested in healthy activities.
I walk along the canal that runs by the Sai Gon Zoo in the morning and early evening hours and note many people walking, jogging and using the exercise equipment in the park along the canal.
Some mornings I walk to Le Van Tam Park and note many people exercising, using machines, doing martial arts and dancing. I understand the zoo is also open during early morning hours for exercise.
Elvis Nguyen, Vietnamese
Viet Nam has a population of about 90 million, and most are young. The reasons why Vietnamese people do less exercises can be listed as follows.
First, young people are only fond of drinking tea and reading news, meanwhile the older generations do exercises. Second, many young persons are so tired from their jobs that they prefer sleeping after work. Third, there is a lack of places to exercise. Lastly, it is the lack of family and school education promoting exercise.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
I see groups of Ha Noi women in the evening and early morning doing aerobics in parks. Many men play soccer and badminton. It's the youth addicted to technology, who don't go outside for group and social activities, that are at risk.
As long as public schools continue Monday morning's music and flag ceremonies, I don't see a problem. I think each kid should be encouraged to bike to school and electric bicycles should be banned.
A lifetime of healthy habits starts with positive peer pressure. Let spoiled rich kids eat KFC and be driven to school on motorbikes. The rest of us can keep a steady pace, an optimum diet and good blood pressure with a bicycling habit.
Forget about showing off for the neighbours, keep pedalling. As for being short, healthy and fit kids will outrun and outpace tall basketball players every time.
Be a team player, pass the ball, live free, and live longer. After all, the bigger (and taller) you are, the harder you fall. At least that's what I tell my friends. — VNS