FAO in Viet Nam

World Food Day 2019 Celebration in Viet Nam


Nguyen Hue High School for the Gifted, Ha Noi, Viet Nam. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Viet Nam and the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) today marked the 39th World Food Day and 74th anniversary of FAO’s founding at an event hosted by Nguyen Hue High School for the Gifted in Ha Noi. This event was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Ministry of Health (MoH) (General Department of Preventive Medicines and NIN), Ministry of Education and Training, United Nations agencies FAO, World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF as well as students and teachers from the school who received valuable nutrition information and knowledge from NIN specialists.

This year’s World Food Day (WFD) message is “Our actions are our future. A Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World”, calling for action across sectors and society to make healthy and sustainable diets accessible and affordable to everyone. At the same time, it calls on people to improve their nutrition awareness, practices and produce safe food through effective use of natural resources to help protect the environment for today’s and tomorrow’s generations. “More than 820 million people in the world do not have enough to eat, but at the same time the rates of overweight and obese people continue to increase in all regions, particularly among school-age children and adults. There is a need to introduce food and nutrition education and culinary skills in schools and at home,” said Albert T. Lieberg, FAO Representative in Viet Nam.

Viet Nam has made significant progress in improving nutrition status and public health, with a sustainable reduction in child malnutrition in parallel to enhanced food security and diets. In particular, its efforts to reduce the stunting rate of children under-5, towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, is particularly noteworthy.

However Viet Nam still faces intensifying challenges encompassing nutrition, environmental pollution and climate change. The stunting and underweight rates of under-5 children remain relatively high, 23.8 and 13.4 percent respectively (National Nutrition Surveillance System 2017 - NIN). In addition, overweight and obesity rates are soaring, especially in urban areas. The nutrition status of children and students is alarming, with NIN research during 2017-2018 revealing the overweight/obesity rate of 5,000 sampled school children in a variety of provinces was 29 percent (17.8 percent in rural areas and 41.9 percent in urban areas).

“In recent decades, besides great improvements in socio-economic conditions, we have seen a lot of negative changes in eating habits, food consumption and lifestyle. A diet with few vegetables, much fat and processed food, a sedentary lifestyle – all of these factors are seriously affecting the nutrition and health of Vietnamese people,” said Associate Professor Tran Dac Phu, Director General of General Department of Preventive Medicines. He added: “To deal with these problems, we should enhance our awareness of optimal  nutrition practices, change our unhealthy lifestyles and diets to create the best nutrition and health for each of us.” To help achieve these changes, a communication strategy “Nutrition and Development” from 16-23 October was also launched today by the MoH to celebrate WFD with the key message “Proper nutrition is the foundation of health”. At the event, Nguyen Hue high school students had an opportunity to talk with NIN specialists and other guests about proper nutrition, healthy diets and practical activities to promote “A Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger World”.