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Vietnam launches Scaling Up Nutrition Movement

A ceremony was held in Hanoi on January 31 to launch the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in Vietnam and the implementation of the Prime Minister’s directive on nutrition enhancement.

The event aimed to affirm the country’s strong commitment to improving public health and nutrition.

In her speech, Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien said the nutrition status of Vietnamese people has been improved over the past years. The country was assessed as a highlight in achieving the Millennium Development Goals, especially the continuous and sustainable reduction of the malnutrition rate among under-five children, from 31.9 percent in 2001 to 13.8 percent in 2016.

However, Vietnam is also facing an array of challenges, she noted, elaborating that the stunting rate remains high, at 24.3 percent, and the rate of overweight and obesity is rising rapidly, especially in urban areas. While micronutrient deficiency hasn’t been improved, unbalanced diet has increased risks of non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and metabolic disorder, Tien added.

In January 2014, the country officially took part in the United Nations’ SUN Movement. It also committed to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, including the goal on ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. In November 2017, Vietnam signed the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Ending all Forms of Malnutrition.

Tien said the Ministry of Health will make nutrition recommendations for specific groups and encourage the use of local food and food that suits the taste of people in each region. It will strive to curb malnutrition, micronutrient deficiency and overweight and prioritise nutritional care for children in the first 1,000 days.

The ministry will also enhance coordination with relevant ministries and agencies to promote communication activities to raise public awareness of reasonable nutrition.

The SUN Movement is a renewed global effort to eliminate all forms of malnutrition based on the principle that everyone has a right to food but also good nutrition. It aims to connect all people from the Government, social organisations, sponsors, businesses, and researchers in a bid to improve nutrition. Fifty-seven countries and two Indian states have committed to scale up their nutrition efforts.