Obesity on the rise in Việt Nam

November 18, 2022 - 21:32
Obesity is increasing rapidly in Việt Nam, especially big provinces and cities. A survey in Việt Nam in 2021 also showed overweight and obesity rates in Hà Nội and HCM City made up 18 per cent of the country’s total number of overweight and obese people.


A doctor examines a boy at Việt Đức Hospital in Hà Nội. — Photo suckhoedoisong.vn

HÀ NỘI — Obesity is increasing rapidly in Việt Nam, especially in big cities, participants heard at a conference to implement the guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of obesity organised by the Medical Services Administration, Ministry of Health on Thursday.

A survey in Việt Nam in 2021 showed overweight and obesity rates in Hà Nội and HCM City made up 18 per cent of the country’s total number of overweight and obese people.

The obesity rate among children in ages five to 19 years old increased to 19 per cent in 2020 from 8.5 per cent in 2010, of which the overweight and obesity rate in urban areas was 26.8 per cent, 18.3 per cent in rural areas and 6.9 per cent in mountainous areas, according to the survey.

“Obesity is recognised by the World Health Organisation and the American Medical Association as a chronic disease requiring long-term treatment because obesity causes a lot of dangerous complications, affecting people's health," said Prof. Dr. Trần Hữu Dàng, President of the Vietnam Association of Endocrinology–Diabetes.

“Obesity adversely affects all health problems, reduces life expectancy, causes many chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, sleep apnea syndrome, degenerative joint disease, fatty liver, and reduces quality of life. Measures to prevent and treat being overweight and obese and maintain long-term weight control can improve health status and reduce complications for patients,” said Prof. Dàng.

Professor Dàng also admitted that obesity has not been paid enough attention to, making most obese people struggle with the battle to lose weight.

Guideline for the diagnosis and treatment of obesity was promulgated by the Ministry of Health in October, and will be applied at medical examination and treatment facilities across the country.

The guidelines include: the causes of obesity; diagnosis of being overweight and obese; identify forms of obesity; general principles in the treatment of obesity and guidelines for the nutritional, exercise, psychological, drug, and surgical treatment of obesity.

This is the first time the Ministry of Health has issued its own guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of obesity.

Nutrition experts say that doctors must select the appropriate methods in obesity treatment, targeting each individual. However, the biggest challenge is monitoring and treating obesity through nutrition.

They said a diet high in sugar and bad fats such as cakes, soft drinks, sauces, junk food and fast food, sleeping late, and inactivity were the leading causes of excess weight and metabolic disorders.

“Lifestyle interventions are the foundation for maintaining safe and sustainable weight loss, including nutritional interventions, physical exercise, behavior change, and psychological support,” said Dr. Nghiêm Nguyệt Thu, Head of the Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, National Institute of Nutrition.

In order to prevent obesity, experts recommend that people should eat more boiled green vegetables, less sweet fruits, choose brown rice and sweet potatoes instead of eating white rice. Make sure that energy input is less than the energy consumed and maintain exercise for 30-60 minutes a day. —VNS