At the twentieth International Vitamin A Consultative Group (IVACG) meeting in Hanoi in 2001, we heard about the considerable improvements in nutrition that had taken place in Vietnam over the previous two decades. It was therefore with some considerable interest that I read a recent publication on public health issues among women and children in Vietnam, to see what progress a fu rther decade had produced.1 The paper was published jointly by workers at the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the National Institute of Nutrition in Hanoi, and the Institute for Research and Development in Montpellier, France, and reported national biochemical information on vitamin A, iron and anemia, folate, vitamin B12 and zinc. It concluded that the prevalence of zinc and vitamin B12 defi ciencies represented public health problems. In addition, while recognizing that the prevalence of anemia and iron defi ciency had markedly reduced over the last decade, the authors suggested that a large part of the population was still at risk of other defi ciencies such as vitamin A and folate, especially the youngest children (aged 6–17 months) and the poorest groups in the population. In this commentary, I compare certain aspects of nutritional status in Vietnam with those in Thailand2 and in Cambodia.3 An examination of diff erent factors that infl uence nutritional status can assist with the interpretation of results.
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