A third of obese children under five are in five big cities Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho -- according to a report made at a recent conference in HCMC.
There are 300,000 obese children under five in the country, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reported.
Nguyen Anh Tuan of the city's Department of Health said at the conference that the number of obese children in some HCMC schools has reached alarming levels, with one reporting a rate of 20 percent.
According to Le Bach Mai, deputy director of the National Institute of Nutrition, children in the southeast lead the country in the consumption of meat, milk, cheese, and seafood in the 2-5 age group.
Their consumption of carbonated drinks is also three times higher than the average consumption level in the country, she said.
The obesity rate among children is increasing every year, according to experts, and so are the health risks like diabetes and cardiovascular and blood pressure problems.
The institute's Truong Hong Son said most Vietnamese mothers want their children to be chubby, so they feed them "nutritious" food, which contains a lot of sugar and fat, leading to obesity.