Vietnam is facing double burdens on malnutrition and obesity, which are still at high rates, said an expert at a seminar on nutrition in Ho Chi Minh City on Nov.12.

According to Doc. Le Thi Hop, Director of the National Institute of Nutrition, the number of underweight children decreased considerably to under 20 percent but the rate of children with stunted growth remained high at over 30 percent of the total.

At present, there are about 2.5 million children with below-average height, mainly in the Central Highlands, the north central and the northwest region, she added.

The results of research in some cities and provinces showed that at present, the average height of Vietnamese men is 163.7 cm to men and 153 cm for women, 13.1 cm and 10.7 cm lower than the international standard, respectively.

Le Thi Kim Quy, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Nutrition Centre said that the overweight and obese rates among children under five and women at reproductive age in cities are about 8.8 percent and 30.1 percent, up four-fold and three-fold respectively compared to 10 years ago.

The national strategy on nutrition in the 2011-2010 period will focus on improving nutritions for children with stunted growth and controlling obesity to reduce incommunicable chronic diseases./.