A study conducted by ‘Edusports Annual School Health and Fitness’ across 78000 children aged between 7 to 17 years in seventeen different states of India, came out with the following shocking numbers!
• 2 in 5 children do not have the right BMI levels
• 66 per cent of girls have healthy BMI as compared to 59 percent boys
• 50 percent of children do not show any sign of adequate upper and lower body strength
The proverb ‘Health is Wealth’ now seems to be a concept which would not be reflected among the country’s next generation as a recent survey has clearly revealed an alarming lack of fitness among kids. The above mentioned results clearly portray that a majority of school going children have an undesirable body mass index (BMI) which is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.
Fitness parameters of these children was measured for a period of two years which included anaerobic capacity, flexibility, lower and upper body strength, abdominal strength and BMI. It was found that more than fifty percent of these kids do not possess the desired level of strength and flexibility. After a few years, the nation will rely on working strength of this generation, which does not show any fruitful results for the country.
So what is the primary cause of higher BMI?
Some very common reasons include sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, no physical activities and more involvement of kids with gadgets that get all their work done from a single seating position.
All these lifestyle activities adopted by the GenX can lead to being overweight or obese. Remember, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ A higher Body Mass Index is a direct indicator of onset of obesity that can lead to various health disorders including hypertension, type II diabetes, heart ailments at a very younger age.
Difference of results between Metros & Non Metros
The study conducted portrays that geographically, 39 percent of children in the east and north have unhealthy BMI scores including 38 percent in the west and 37 percent in the south and central India.
Overall, every two in five children have unhealthy BMI Score.
Now if we compare children in metros Vs. Non Metros in the same age group, the results in rural areas are marginally better off compared to those in metro cities in four of the six fitness parameters. Moreover, children from non metros also demonstrated better flexibility, strength and BMI.
The abundant choices and facilities available to children have lead to a heightened reduction in physical activities. To buy anything from a nearby locality shop, children are seen using bikes instead walking down. Food consumption patterns are also showing an increasing preference for processed food than home cooked, which is definitely unhealthy for the body and leads to health issues such as childhood obesity and poor health.
Another worrying trend is the increasing trend of virtual games, which is eating away the playtime hours of kids. Now, children spend less time outdoors and indulge in less or no physical activity.
It is recommended that schools implement a structured sports curriculum with three or more physical education classes in a week for a fitter GenX.