The Ho Chi Minh City Nutrition Centre on October 25 held a seminar to discuss how to control obesity and non-communicable diseases in the community.

The event aimed to raise public awareness of good nutrition and food safety in order to improve health and control the diseases.

According to the centre, the number of malnourished people from all walks of life in the city has continued to fall in recent time. It now has the lowest rate in the country.

However, the ratio of overweight and obese people in the 2000-2010 period increased strongly, especially in large cities. For primary school pupils, the ratio was 38.5 percent, while that in women of reproductive age was 35.7 percent and in children under-five, 11 percent.

The habit of eating too much and lack of exercise are the primary causes.

Nguyen Huu Hung, Deputy Director of the municipal Health Department, said in order to realise the goals of the National Nutrition Strategy for the 2011-2020 period, the health sector and related agencies should work together to popularise knowledge on choosing hygienic and nutritional food, and ensuring hygiene in food preparation.

It is also necessary to call on people to take physical exercise to prevent chronic diseases while expanding nutrition programmes, including preventing iodine, iron and vitamin A deficiencies among families, Hung said.

On the occasion of the Nutrition and Development Week (October 16-23), the centre will launch a campaign to raise awareness on the issue in industrial parks on October 26.-VNA