Speaking at a conference on tackling diet-related non-communicable diseases in Asia that opened in Hanoi Monday, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Truong Son said an estimated 80 percent of deaths caused by diseases in Vietnam are due to non-communicable diseases.
There are an estimated 12 million people with hypertension but nearly 60 percent of them have not been diagnosed and over 80 percent have not received any treatment, he said.
Over 3 million have diabetes, but nearly 70 percent of them are yet to be diagnosed.
According to the Global Burden of Disease Study done last year, non-communicable diseases killed 15 million people in developing countries that year, 3.8 million more than in 2000.
Non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, mental illness, and diabetes have added a second layer of burden to these countries, which are already struggling with infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Diet-related non-communicable diseases such as overweight and obesity are becoming more common among Vietnam’s youths.
Studies also show that an unbalanced diet with too little fruits and vegetables is related to 19 percent of stomach and intestinal cancer cases, 31 percent of ischemic heart disease cases and 11 percent of stroke cases.
A high-salt diet is also blamed for stroke, hypertension, stomach cancer, kidney failure, osteoporosis and certain types of heart disease.
A survey by the Ministry of Health in 2015 found that over 50 percent of adults in Vietnam do not eat enough fruit and vegetables. Vietnamese also consume twice the amount of salt recommended by the World Health Organization, and the proportion of the population that is overweight or obese is also increasing rapidly.
“Proper nutrition and healthy food are a top priority in preventing, controlling non-communicable diseases and improving people’s health,” Son said.
Vietnam is therefore focusing on controlling risk factors and on early detection and continuous, lifetime monitoring of patients with non-communicable diseases, he added.
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