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

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.