HCM City's Nutrition Programme for 2013-15 will focus on combating obesity and non-communicable diseases among primary school students, a conference heard on April 5.

Do Thi Ngoc Diep, director of the municipal Nutrition Centre, said the ratio of overweight and obese children was 38.5 percent last year.

For children under five, the ratio was lower at 11 percent, she said, adding that in this age group, the ratios of underweight and stunted children were the lowest in the country at 5.3 percent and 7.6 percent.

The overweight and obesity ratio among women of reproductive age in the city is also high, jumping to 35.7 percent last year. Prevalence of diabetes among adults was 7 percent.

The city would spend 42.75 billion VND (2 million USD) for its nutrition programme, including prevention of malnutrition, obesity, and iodine and vitamin A deficiencies, she said.

HCM City has the highest rate of overweight and obese children in the country, Le Thi Hop, head of the National Institute of Nutrition, said.

Vietnam has more than seven million children aged under five, with underweight and stunted children accounting for 16.2 percent and 26.7 percent.-VNA