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The unhealthy appetite leading Vietnam to a public health crisis

The unhealthy appetite leading Vietnam to a public health crisis

When I first came to live in Vietnam over 12 years ago, I thought I was going to adopt the Vietnamese diet and lifestyle and never have to worry about being overweight and unhealthy again.

What I didn’t know, however, was that I was walking into a looming public health crisis among a nation of people that I assumed ate healthy food everyday.

A decade on, almost 20% of young people between the ages of 5 and 19 are either overweight or obese, while the prevalence of diabetes in the 10 years prior to 2016 had almost doubled already, leaving an estimated 1 in 20 Vietnamese with the disease.

Who knows what that figure is today [*new update here].

Now, UNICEF has predicted that by 2030, almost 2 million Vietnamese children will be obese if nothing is done immediately.

And to add to that, it’s estimated that more than 50% of people with diabetes in Vietnam don’t know they have it.

That’s a proverbial time bomb ticking right there.

How did this country known for its seemingly healthy cuisine find itself in the midst of such an alarming public health issue?

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Join me in this first episode of my podcast series in which I attempt to find out things I should have known years ago about the country I now call home.

Follow Matt on Instagram at @mattcowansaigon

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┬ęThe Bureau Asia 2021

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