UNICEF aims to assure 50 percent of children around the world are breastfed exclusively in their first six months, but Vietnam has only reached 17 percent, an Asia-Pacific UNICEF representative said at a recent conference on nutrition in Hanoi.

The percentage in Vietnam is much lower than Laos and Cambodia, with 40 percent and 65 percent, respectively. Thailand comes in at 12 percent.

The first 1,000 days are the "golden" period for providing critical nutrition to foster height and intelligence in infants, the UNICEF representative said.

Effective methods include nutrition supplements during pregnancy, breastfeeding exclusively in the six months, continuing breastfeeding and making sure infants get enough nutrition in the following months.-VNA