12 Dec 2021

Surely many people have felt fascinated when looking at the check-in photos of foreigners with Vietnamese and noticing the obvious size difference. Compared with the tall Westerners, Vietnam locals seem much smaller and lighter, almost disappearing from the frame. So what is the average height in Vietnam? Let's check out this information with Localtravelidea.

Table Contents
average height in vietnam
Source: Ngoc Thanh

In recent years, the height of Vietnamese people has improved somewhat but compared to Westerners, it is still quite modest. Join us to learn more about the height of men and women in Vietnam!

I - The average height in Vietnam over the periods

1 - Period 1975 - 2000

According to Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Danh Tuyen, Director of the National Institute of Nutrition, in the period 1975 - 2000, the height of young Vietnamese tended to increase slowly, averaging about 1.1cm per decade. From the data of the 2000 Nutrition Census, it is shown that the average height of Vietnamese young men is 162.3cm, and that of women is 152.3cm, an increase of 2.3cm compared to 160cm (men) and 150cm (women) in 1975. At this stage, Vietnam has almost the lowest average height in Southeast Asia, only slightly higher than the Philippines and Indonesia.

2 - The average height in Vietnam in the period 2000 - 2010

average height vietnamese

Height of Vietnamese people in 3 periods - Source: Localtravelidea

It can be seen that in this 10-year period, the average height of Vietnamese men has changed significantly, reaching 164.4cm with an increase of about 2.1cm. Meanwhile, women's height only increased by 1.1cm from 152.3cm to 153.4cm. With this growth, the Vietnamese average height was only lower than Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia in the group of countries in Southeast Asia, and ranked 182 out of 200 countries/territories in the world.

3 - Period 2010 - 2020

The average height in Vietnam has drastically changed within 10 years, according to the results of the 2019 - 2020 National Nutrition Census of the National Institute of Nutrition (Ministry of Health). The average height of Vietnamese young men today is 168.1cm, an increase of 3.7cm compared to 2010 (164.4cm). Meanwhile, the height of young women reached 156.2 cm - an increase of 2.6cm from 154.8cm in 2010.

Assoc. Prof., Dr. Le Danh Tuyen said that this is a very fast growth, similar to the golden period of Japan in the years 1955 - 1995.

II - Causes and prospects to improve the average height in Vietnam

1 - The period from 2000 onwards

Effects of war

Although the war ended in 1975, the influence it left on later generations of Vietnamese people is still extremely massive. Due to low education levels, poor economy, and lack of nutrition, the height of young Vietnamese was much lower than the standards of the World Health Organization. In addition, at this period, the rate of malnourished children was still extremely high, which has a dramatic effect on the average height in Vietnam.

Child marriages and having too many children


average height of vietnamese

Child marriages - Source: Milo Weiler

Vietnamese women in this period often get married early, usually from the age of 16, along with many births, thick births, and lack of proper nutrition during pregnancy are also a cause affecting the height growth of women. 

Exercise habits

The low average height of Vietnamese youth in this period is also partly a consequence of the lack of exercise, making bone cells slow to develop and hindering the increase in bone length.

2 - Improve the average height in Vietnam in the period from 2000 to present

In this stage, the average height of people in Vietnam increased significantly because of the development of the economy. At the same time, the state also came up with many policies, awareness-raising activities for the people, and nutrition interventions such as the growth support plan in the first 1,000 days of life. In particular, the school nutrition intervention program made a huge contribution to the overall height growth, with many activities such as deworming, vitamin supplementation, and so on.

Thanks to the above practical actions, the average height in Vietnam has increased significantly since 2000, making Vietnam one of the countries with the ideal average height in Southeast Asia. If interventions continue to be implemented by the government, it is certain that the average height of the Vietnamese will continue to increase.

If in the period before 2000, the average height of Vietnamese was assessed as being lower than that of most countries in the world, then from 2000 onwards, the data has had positive changes. With timely interventions and necessary nutritional supplements, it can be hoped that in the future, the average height in Vietnam can continue to increase at an ideal rate

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I'm Giang - a Vietnamese with a passion for photography and travel. Two years ago I left my job to start traveling to explore Vietnam. It's great that I can share my travel experiences with you. I hope it will help you have a memorable trip to Vietnam.

Giang Phạm — Giang Phạm



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