The Health Ministry hosted a conference in the northern province of Bac Ninh on Mar. 14 to launch the 2011 plan on preventing diabetes and iodine deficiency-related disorders in northern localities.

The Central Endocrine Hospital has been assigned to take charge of the plan, which enters its third year this year. Despite the nation declared the elimination of iodine deficiency in 2005, efforts still been exerted to avoid the relapse into the phenomena, said the health official.

The Health Ministry plans to improve screening to uncover new cases of diabetes and better monitoring of high-risk groups and diabetes patients in the time to come.

About 5 percent of Vietnam ’s population have diabetes and between 15-20 percent of the people are at a high risk of developing diabetes, according to the Central Endocrine Hospital ’s recent survey.

Lifestyle changes, less physical activity and unhealthy eating are the main causes of a rise in the prevalence of diabetes in Vietnam .

According to experts, diabetes cannot be cured yet, however, 80 percent of type 2 diabetes cases can change the course of the disease with a healthy diet and more exercise.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Thi Xuyen also hailed the good work on preventing iodine-deficiency, which received much attention from the Government. She said the health sector should keep up efforts in this field to maintain the achievement. Vietnam already eliminated iodine deficiency in 2005./.