According to the data of Non-communicable Disease-related Risk Factors Collaboration (NCD-RisC), the average height of Vietnamese children and adolescents has increased by 5-10 cm over the past 35 years. This helps us increase from 30-80 places on the height rankings compared to other countries around the world, depending on age and gender.
Specifically, from 1985 to 2019:
The average height of the 19-year-old male in Vietnam has increased from 163.8 cm to 168.9 cm (increase 5.1 cm and rise 29 steps from 183th to 154th out of 200 countries and territories). Average height of a 19-year-old female has increased from 153 cm to 158.4 cm (increase 5.4 cm and rise 30 steps from 178 to 148)
Average height of 5-year-old boys in Vietnam increased from 100.7 cm to 110.5 cm (increased 9.8 cm and increased 64 steps from 191 to 127 out of 200 countries and territories). The average height of 5-year-old girls reached a record increase from 100.4 oranges to 110.5 cm (up 10.1 cm and up 80 steps from 197 to 117).
Analysis of these data, one research in the Lancet medical journal shows: Although the height ranking of Vietnamese youth is still modest compared to the world, but we are in the group of countries with high growth rates. “healthy” Most, especially for teenage girls.
Research in the Lancet not only evaluates height gain, but also combines it into a trajectory with an increase in body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated by weight (in kg) divided by square of height (in m).
The healthy adult BMI is generally defined between 18.5 and 24.9 (kg / m2), less than 18.5 is considered malnourished, above 24.9 is considered overweight. and obesity. However, for adolescents, BMI is defined in the following chart ranges:
“When changes in both height and BMI are considered, girls in Korea, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and some Central Asian countries (eg, Armenia and Azerbaijan) , and boys in Central and Western Europe (eg Portugal, Denmark, Poland and Montenegro) are experiencing the healthiest changes in anthropometric status over the past three to five decades.“, the study on Lancet writes.
“That’s because, compared to children and adolescents in other countries, they have a much larger increase in height than their BMI.”
Over a 35-year follow-up period, research in the Lancet considers any increase in BMI to be unhealthy, except in countries with a BMI below the one billion average. a large proportion of their population is malnourished.
For Vietnam, from 1985 to 2019:
The average BMI of 5-year-old girls increased from 13.7 to 15.0 kg / m2. Average BMI for 5-year-old boys increased from 14.2 to 16.4 kg / m2. The average BMI of 19-year-old male / female youth increased from 18.9 to 21.1 kg / m2 and from 19.0 to 20.4 kg / m2, respectively.
All are in the healthy BMI group and the slow gains indicate a healthy process of height improvement and weight gain. In the case of some other countries such as Chile, the United States, and New Zealand the rapid increase in the BMI has caused concerns.
The higher the BMI, the higher the risk of heart disease, blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, gallstones as well as respiratory problems and cancer, the National Institutes of Health says. From the public health perspective, BMI is an important parameter that helps health professionals evaluate and predict the population health of each country.
The study authors in the Lancet said that taller children and adolescents without excessive weight gain like in Vietnam will benefit for a lifetime in terms of health and well-being. To do that, we need to continue to pay attention to living environment, especially nutritional care for children and adolescents.
Contrary to the notion that inheritance from parents is the determining factor for the height of a child, the authors say that nutrition and habitat are more influential factors. Evidence shows that after only a few generations, the descendants of the migrants often catch up with the height of the children living in the host country where they came from.
“Food and nutrition includes adequate and balanced energy intake, nutrients especially protein, fat and micronutrients.“are crucial routes to a healthy height for children and teenagers,” the authors write.
Young Vietnamese women are having the healthiest height growth rate in the world.
For a higher and healthier future generation, countries should implement well agricultural and food policies to increase the quantity and cost of nutritious foods while limiting consumption. unhealthy foods, especially foods containing processed carbohydrates.
In addition, providing living conditions such as affordable, healthy housing, clean water, sanitation systems, and recreational and sports facilities in the community and schools will also contribute to the height growth of children and adolescents.