The number of Vietnamese children under five-years-old suffering from acute and chronic malnutrition in 2014 has reduced slightly from 2013, revealed Vietnam ’s National Institute of Nutrition on February 2.

Accordingly, about 14.5 percent of the children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition while 24.9 percent of those are underweight, down from 15.3 percent and 25.9 percent in 2013, respectively.

The rate of malnourished children varied by region. In the Central Highlands, children with acute malnutrition and chronic malnutrition accounted for 22.6 percent and 34.9 percent of the child population, respectively, while only 19.8 percent and 30.7 percent of children suffered in the northern midland and mountainous areas.

Several more developed provinces, including Binh Duong, Ho Chi Minh City and Quang Nam , also recorded a drop in malnutrition cases, but saw a rise in childhood obesity. The obesity rate among children in Hanoi is 5.4 percent.

The malnutrition figures are released annually, based on the data collected from 63 cities and provinces nationwide.

The information will provide policy-makers with the necessary context to develop plans to raise public awareness of a proper nutritional diet and necessary changes in childcare behaviour to decrease malnutrition in children.

There are three types of malnutrition in children: acute malnutrition, chronic malnutrition and acute & chronic malnutrition.

Acute malnutrition is caused by acute inadequate nutrition which leads to rapid weight loss or failure to gain weight normally.

Chronic malnutrition results in stunting or shortness because of inadequate nutrition over a long period of time leading to failure of linear growth.

Acute and chronic malnutrition causes wasting, stunting, or both.-VNA