Two out of five children do not have the right body mass index (BMI) level. One in two children does not possess adequate strength, and one in two does not have the desired flexibility.
These were the findings of the 4th edition of the EduSports Annual School Health and Fitness Survey, covering 77,669 children aged between 7-17 years in 176 schools across the country. The figures reveal an alarming lack of fitness among a majority of school-going children.
Geographically, children showed lack of fitness with unhealthy BMI scores in all five regions covered. In South, 37 per cent children had undesirable BMI levels, 38 per cent in the West, 37 per cent in Central and 39 per cent in East and North.
Medical News Today defines BMI as a statistical measurement derived from your height and weight. If a person’s body weight is at least 20 per cent higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. If your BMI is between 25 and 29.9, you are considered overweight. If your BMI is 30 or over, you are considered obese. The study was conducted over a period of 24 months and the parameters considered were anaerobic capacity, flexibility, lower and upper body strength, abdominal strength and BMI. Children in non-metros (44,650 children in 84 schools) performed marginally higher than their counterparts in six metros (33,109 in 92 schools) in four of the six parameters. Non-metro children demonstrated better flexibility (51 per cent), had good upper body strength (54 per cent) and a higher overall BMI score (63 per cent).
The survey also found that 66 per cent girls have healthy BMI scores compared to 59 per cent boys.
“The primary causes for higher BMI are sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits and little or no physical activity like playing. High BMI is a direct indicator of the onset of obesity, which can lead to several health problems including type 2 diabetes, heart ailments and high blood pressure. However, girls score lower than boys in other parameters,” the survey stated. “It is disheartening to witness an unhealthy generation that is otherwise ahead of its times. The alarming fitness standards proves that sports should be viewed as an important part of the curriculum,” said Saumil Majumdar.