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10th Annual Health Survey by Sportz Village reveals one out of two children do not have healthy BMI

The survey assessed the children on different fitness parameters of Body Mass Index (BMI), aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, abdominal or core strength, flexibility, upper body strength, and lower body strength

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Sportz Village’s 10th Annual Health Survey (AHS) reveals that children are displaying poor fitness levels across India. The nationwide survey has covered 1,49,833 children in the age groups of seven years to 17 years from 364 schools across 250 cities and towns.

The AHS was launched 10 years ago to understand the overall health and fitness levels of children in private schools. The survey assessed the children on different fitness parameters of Body Mass Index (BMI), aerobic capacity, anaerobic capacity, abdominal or core strength, flexibility, upper body strength, and lower body strength.

At a national level, the survey reveals that one in two children do not have healthy BMI. The number of children with healthy levels of aerobic capacity, upper body strength and lower body strength is also low. Although this is a matter of concern, the number of children with healthy levels of abdominal strength and sprint capacity have increased in comparison to last year.

Saumil Majmudar, CEO, Sportz Village Schools, says, “The AHS indicates that the health of children in India is not what it should be. Although this is a cause for concern, we know what we have to do, to address this problem. The amount of time a child spends in physical activity is directly correlated to the fitness parameters of upper body strength, BMI and aerobic capacity. School leaders need to ensure that there is an adequate number of physical education periods factored into a school’s timetable. There is also a need to implement structured in-school physical education programmes that are age-appropriate, inclusive and engage all children meaningfully. Moreover, an adequate number of qualified physical education trainers are also required to ensure that all children get ample attention and equal opportunities to play and learn.”

Girls versus boys

The survey reveals that boys have slightly better BMI than girls. The boys also have better upper body strength and flexibility. The girls, one the other hand, have fared better than boys in lower body strength and aerobic capacity. The health levels of boys and girls in the remaining parameters i.e. abdominal strength (84 per cent healthy) and anaerobic capacity (66 per cent healthy) were the same.

Public schools versus private schools

AHS further compared the fitness levels of children in public/government schools to the children in private schools. According to the survey, children in private schools have much better BMI (47 per cent) compared to children in government schools (35 per cent). Children in private schools have also fared better in the parameters of upper body strength, lower body strength and abdominal strength. Children in government schools, on the other hand, have fared better in aerobic and anaerobic capacity as well as flexibility.

Effect of number of Physical Education classes per week

According to AHS, the number of weekly Physical Education periods also impacts the health of the children. The survey further shows that children with more than twon physical education periods per week, have significantly higher aerobic capacity. These children also fared slightly better in the fitness parameters of BMI and lower body strength.

Impact of student-teacher ratio

The survey analyses the effect of student-teacher ratio on the health of children. Low student-teacher ratio allows a teacher to better manage the physical education class. A class with fewer students enables the teacher to give his or her attention to each and every child. Therefore, the lower the student-teacher ratio, the healthier the children in all the parameters.

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