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Tran Thanh Duong, Director of the Institute of Nutrition, said the structure of Vietnamese people's meals has changed markedly in the past 10 years. The diet is more balanced, approaching the recommended needs for energy-producing substances from glucose, protein and lipids.

However, according to Duong, the daily food ration in many localities remains unreasonable, with too much animal protein. The average meat consumption is 134 grams per day, including 95.5 grams of red meat, 36.2 grams of fowl and 4.7 grams of products made of meat.

The figures are higher in urban areas – 155.3 grams of red meat, 36.5 grams or fowl meat and 3.9 grams of meat-made products.

Red meat comes from non-fowl mammals. It has red color before processing, such as pork, lamb, beef and others.

In rural areas, where the living conditions are worse, the consumption level is 126.2 grams, including 85.8 grams of red meat. Vietnamese are consuming more animal sourced lipids than plant sourced lipids.

The unhealthy eating habits and the imbalance in nutrients (lots of meat, animal fat, and few vegetables and fruits) of Vietnamese have led to an increase in chronic diseases related to nutrition such as being overweight, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, gout and dyslipidemia.

The rate of overweight and obesity in school-aged children increased from 8.5 percent in 2010 to 19 percent in 2020 (26.8 percent in urban areas, 18.3 percent in rural areas and 6.9 percent in mountainous areas). 

He recommended that Vietnamese follow a diet with balanced nutrition, and only consume safe food to keep the body healthy and avoid non-communicable diseases. Balancing protein from animals and plants is one of the important things that needs to be done.

In recent years, Vietnam has made remarkable progress in improving the nutrition situation and upgrading people’s health, according to Duong. 

The proportion of malnourished children, food security, and people’s meals have improved clearly. Vietnam has succeeded in reducing the proportion of malnourished and stunted children under 5 years old to below 20 percent.

At the Week of Nutrition and Development this year, taking place from October 16 to October 23, the Ministry of Health gave five messages to improve health conditions, including the VAC model (in Vietnamese, it means plantation, aquaculture and animal farming) to ensure safe available food. Family and school meals need to be organized in a way to ensure diversity, balance and adequate nutrition.

Vo Thu