PUNE: A latest study has revealed that health and fitness levels of school children are alarmingly poor across India. The survey showed that only 47 per cent children in government schools had a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) as compared to 61 per cent from private schools.
Around 39 per cent government school children are underweight as against 15 per cent from private schools. Yet, the government school children are healthier than the private school children in various fitness parameters such as lower body strength, flexibility, aerobics and anaerobic capacity.
The ‘Annual Health Survey’ by EduSports, a sports education company, was conducted nationwide. It included 1,53,441 children in the age group of 7 years to 17 years from 279 schools across 113 cities and towns in 21 states.
The survey also revealed that girls fared slightly better with 63 per cent of them having healthy BMI as compared to 59 per cent of the boys.
Girls were observed to be fitter than boys in several fitness parameters such as upper body strength, abdominal strength and flexibility.
However, the boys outscored the girls in the fitness parameters of lower body strength and aerobic capacity.
EduSports CEO and co-founder Saumil Majmudar said the high percentage of unhealthy children is alarming.
“We still have an indication of how we could rectify the situation. The study reinforces the idea that schools, by providing play spaces, act as catalysts for maintaining the fitness of children. In the current context, when there is a lack of safe play spaces in many cities, schools are the only places where children have the opportunity to play. This also reinforces the need and importance of effectively utilising and structuring any available playtime in schools so that all children benefit from the programme and not just the school teams,” said Majmudar.
It was also revealed that only 60 per cent of the children had healthy BMI. There has also been an improvement in the 50 per cent increase in the number of children having an ideal upper body and 33 per cent in flexibility.