ALTHOUGH the average life expectancy has increased, the number of cases of non-infectious disease among Vietnamese has risen, said Dr Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, head of the Department of Health Protection and Care of Central Officers.
The average life expectancy of Vietnamese is 73.6 compared to 68.6 in 1999, according to the population census in 2019.
But Vietnamese women are ill for an average of 11 years, compared to eight years for men, she said.
“Non-infectious chronic diseases are the No.1 killer today, with more than 70% of deaths coming from cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, ” she noted.
The number of cases increase significantly from the age of 40 due to ageing, inadequate nutrition, high consumption of tobacco and alcohol, stress and other factors.
“The number in Vietnam has reached alarming levels, ” she said, adding that “how we age depends hugely on how we behave”.
She said people should watch what they eat, be physically active, avoid the use of tobacco and alcohol, and ensure lower stress levels.
“Listen to your body and see a doctor as soon as possible if ill as early detection is important in treatment, reducing mortality and improving quality of life, ” she said.
In 2011, Vietnam began to enter the period of an ageing population and is one of the countries with the fastest ageing rates.
In 2017, the number of people aged 60 and older accounted for 11.9% of the total population.
This group will account for about 21 million people by 2038, or 20% of the population. The number will reach 27 million or 25% of the population by 2050, according to the General Statistics Office.
The average life expectancy of Vietnamese is 1.6 years higher than the world average, but the population is about 16 years older than the world population.
Dr Le Dinh Thanh, director of Ho Chi Minh City-based Thong Nhat Hospital, said the rapid ageing of the population posed huge challenges to a low to middle-income country like Vietnam, requiring it to improve its social security and healthcare system for the elderly.
Vietnam needs to raise awareness about preparation for old age, including planning for financial security, and ensuring medical examination and treatment, as well as social policies for the elderly.
Infectious diseases kill over 300 people per year in the country, while non-infectious diseases kill over 400,000, said the Ministry of Health. — Vietnam News/ANN