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Persistent Malnutrition in Ethnic Minority Communities of Vietnam : Issues and Options for Policy and Interventions (English)

Seventy-five percent of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities live in 45 of the country’s 63 provinces, which are in the country’s northern mountain and central highlands regions. Vietnam’s hills and forested highlands have influenced its demographics and the extent and persistence of its inequity in poverty, health, and nutrition. Because malnutrition in early life significantly affects the physical and mental development of children, addressing malnutrition is fundamental to the development of Vietnam’s human capital. Economic development of the nation depends on the strength, resilience, and intelligence of its workforce. Governments dedicate millions of dollars annually to health and education, recognizing that individual losses in productivity may run as high as 10 percent of lifetime earnings and that as much as 11 percent of GDP could be lost each year in Asia and Africa due to undernutrition. The ethnic minority groups living mainly in the northern midlands and in the mountainous and central highlands regions are consistently more undernourished than the Kinh majority. Despite decreases in stunting, the prevalence of stunting among ethnic minority children is still twice that in the Kinh ethnic group. There has been an overall decline in wasting of 1.7 percent between 2000 and 2011, although only the richest quintile showed a significant reduction (3.4 percent). These data, along with an overall decrease in the prevalence of wasting and stunting, indicate an increase in nutrition inequality between 2000 and 2011. Moreover, it is noteworthy that the ethnic minority groups constitute most of the undernourished populations in most of the 10 provinces with the highest rates of stunting among children under 5 years old. This analytical report describes the very high rates of malnutrition among ethnic minority populations in Vietnam. It assesses the determinants and causes, using a causal framework and systems analysis; reviews current commitments and policies directed at reducing disparities in malnutrition; examines implementation of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions, particularly those that require multisectoral coordination and collaboration; draws conclusions based on the analysis; and recommends how policies and programs can be strengthened to reduce inequities and fulfill the economic potential of all ethnic groups.


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    Mbuya,Nkosinathi Vusizihlobo, Atwood,Stephen J., Phuong,Huynh Nam

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    East Asia and Pacific,

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    Persistent Malnutrition in Ethnic Minority Communities of Vietnam : Issues and Options for Policy and Interventions

  • Keywords

    Infant and Young Child Feeding; integrated management; Early Childhood Care and Education; Demographic and Health Survey; Human Capital and Economic Growth; ethnic minority groups; nutritional status of child; maternal and child nutrition; high rates of anemia; primary health care facilities; female labor force participation; demand for health services; public health care expenditures; access to health service; mental development of children; water supply and sanitation; ethnic minority population; ethnic minority child; Ethnic Minorities; Undernutrition; ethnic minority community; gross domestic product; health and nutrition; ethnic minority household; concentration of poverty; scaling up nutrition; rates of return; ethnic minority family; loss in productivity; improved sanitation facilities; ethnic majority group; living in poverty; improved living standard; equity in access; drinking water source; quality public service; folic acid supplementation; social welfare program; return to education; gdp growth rate; births per woman; Early childhood education; poverty reduction program; lack of education; lack of skill; social insurance program; total factor productivity; preference for son; purchasing power parity; human capital formation; intimate partner violence; loss of nutrient; body mass index; behavior change communication; secondary school attendance; access to water; mother and child; agricultural extension service; reduction in poverty; senior education specialist; population growth rate; adequate financial resources; direct government funding; household survey data; cash transfer program; education and health; child health service; determinants of malnutrition; privileges and immunity; vitamin a supplementation; Council of Elders; national human capital; national poverty line; ethnic minority girl; direct nutrition intervention; ethnic group; pregnant woman; Population Density; nutritional outcome; acute malnutrition; mountainous region; Prenatal Care; population pyramid; village elder; mountainous area; customary law; life expectancy; sex ratio; stunted child; communist party; Social Protection; sectoral approach; protein supplementation; river delta; ill health; cultural barrier; gap analysis; preterm birth; mountain region; cultural identities; adolescent girl; live birth; micronutrient supplementation; conceptual framework; complementary feeding; smaller group; dietary intake; demographic dividend; zinc deficiency; cultural beliefs; targeted program; benefit package; coastal region; direct route; educational material; Public Services; significant challenge; high-income group; nutritional improvement; communication strategy; poor health; government sector; social behavior; productivity loss; lifetime earnings; adequate nutrition; cognitive development; sanitation facility; physical growth; brain development; hygiene promotion; Labor Market; neonatal mortality; adolescent pregnancy; early marriage; reproductive care; government ownership; interested stakeholders; older adult; improved health; open defecation; physical environment; international boundary; household environment; main road; population statistic; socio-economic development; scarce resource; multiethnic country; adequate budgetary; national nutrition; surface water; coastal plain; coastal lowlands; indirect impact; food fortification; nutritional need; nutrient intake; population group; Child Mortality; fertility rate; literature review; empirical analysis; dependency ratio; adequate financing; domestic financing; vulnerable population; salt iodization; government decree; calcium supplementation; age structure; complementary food; children of ages; adequate diet; Infectious Disease; nutrition service; breastfeeding promotion; nutrition counseling; minority woman; Gender Gap; chronic undernutrition; social transformation; environmental pressure; aging country; greater access; natural disaster; unsustainable exploitation; job description; fiscal pressure



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Mbuya,Nkosinathi Vusizihlobo Atwood,Stephen J. Phuong,Huynh Nam

Persistent Malnutrition in Ethnic Minority Communities of Vietnam : Issues and Options for Policy and Interventions (English). International Development in Focus Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.