Survey reveals every third child in India is unhealthy

Children are becoming less active for environmental or interpersonal reasons. Lack of physical activity increases the risk of obesity and health-related problems in adolescence, and adulthood

indian-children-playingHealth is wealth, but doctors and a study reveal there is an increase in the number among children with regards to a drop in their health and fitness.

According to the 7th Annual School health and fitness study by EduSports, every third child has an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).

Dr Mona Gajre, professor of paediatrics at LTMG Sion Hospital said, “Because  of academic stress which involves 8 hours of study and mostly 4 hours of tuitions/ classes, children do not get to play or get involved in physical activities , this makes them unfit.”

Gajre added that time spent sleeping among children has also decreased, which is affecting their body.

EduSports did a nationwide study which covered 1, 69,932 children in the age group of 7 to 17 years in 326 schools across 86 cities in 26 states. The study was built into the co-scholastic curriculum of schools for the academic year 2015-2016. It assessed fitness parameters, like sprint capacity, flexibility, lower and upper body strength, abdominal strength and BMI.

Study revealed 69% girls have a healthy BMI compared to 62% boys. At least 51% girls had desired levels of flexibility versus only 45% among boys.

“Lot of kids are consuming junk food which is harmful to the body. We see a number of children suffering from obesity, because of which they are unfit. Parents and schools should be educated regarding this lifestyle, so that they can act at the right time” said Dr Rajesh Chokhani, consultant paediatrician.

Chokhani also said, gadgets should be kept away from young children and should be handed over to them at a right age, so that children are more engaged in outdoor activity than being indoors which makes them unfit.

The study also revealed that, fitness levels of children in metro and non-metro cities are similar. Only 66% children in metros had a healthy BMI versus 65% in non-metros. The percentage of children with unhealthy BMI had increased from 20% last year to 33% this year. This trend needs to be reversed to have a healthy generation of children.

According to Saumil Majmudar, CEO and Co-founder, EduSports, “Children are becoming less active for environmental or interpersonal reasons. Lack of physical activity increases the risk of obesity and health-related problems in adolescence, and adulthood. We believe that schools provide the ideal environment to promote physical activity at the right age and improve fitness standards among children.

“The 7th Annual School Health and Fitness Study showed that schools with a structured, age-appropriate sports program witnessed a substantial improvement in health and fitness levels, compared to schools which don’t have a structured sports program. Research also showed that active children have greater attention span and perform better academically.”