The $40m programme, which is designed to promote better nutrition
and healthy living, will be introduced to schools across the
"We are still much shorter than other Asian countries like China
and especially Japan," said Dung Nghiep Chi, the man behind the
"We are now working on a programme of nutrition and physical
exercise, to boost the height and weight of young Vietnamese
people," he told the BBC's World Today programme.
She said that young people consider height a mark of beauty, and
it is one of the top considerations for teenage girls looking for
boyfriends and even friends.
There are also height restrictions which prevent small people
from taking part in beauty contests or becoming air hostesses.
Older people associate height less with beauty and more with
nutritional status - and an indication that their children are
healthy and strong.
"My mother is very short, but I'm not too bad as I have been
given highly nutritious food and plenty of milk," said one woman.
Another man was more direct. "I want to be 10cm taller. I think
tall people are beautiful," he said.