If you thought obesity was a problem only in the U.S., think again. The third edition of the EduSports School Health and Fitness (a physical education and school sports enterprise) Survey that covered 49,046 children from 104 schools has unearthed some disturbing facts.
The survey revealed that schoolgoing children from across the country have poor body strength, poor flexibility and do not have an ideal body mass index (BMI).
According to the survey, 39.2 per cent of schoolgoing children do not have the ideal BMI and almost 20 per cent are showing signs of obesity.
The survey covered 49,046 children in the age group of seven to 17 years from 104 schools in 54 cities in the academic year 2011-12. Basic fitness indicators: endurance, anaerobic capacity/explosive power, flexibility, body strength (upper, lower, abdominal) and BMI.
The problem of low fitness levels was equally prevalent among boys and girls.
There was a higher incidence of high BMI among children in the age group of 10 to 13 years compared to other children surveyed (22.84 per cent overweight or obese compared to 18.6 per cent among other children).
They also displayed lower levels of flexibility and lower body strength.
Non-metros and metros
Children in the non-metros performed better across different fitness parameters compared to their counterparts in the metros (Delhi/NCR, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Pune and Ahmedabad). The findings showed that 24.9 per cent children in the metros are overweight as against the 16.6 per cent in non-metros.
A controlled study of 36,146 children from 93 schools in 47 cities strengthened the belief that planned and systematic interventions at the school-level could go a long way in helping children become more fit and healthier.
The children were exposed to two to four weekly sessions of structured sports/physical activity, which resulted in a marked improvement in their fitness levels.