India sees a decline in overall health and fitness levels of students, says a Nationwide Survey

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8th Annual Health and Fitness Study by EduSports reveals alarming fitness levels in school children across all age groups

 

 

Key findings and recommendations

•                Study covered 1, 02, 838 children in the age group of 7 – 18 years

•                252 schools across 86 cities in 26 states were covered in the study

•                2 in 3 children do not have a healthy BMI, cannot sprint for their age and lack adequate upper body strength

•                1 in 2 children don’t have desired flexibility

•                1 in 3 children lack adequate lower body strength

•                Girls projected a lower BMI than boys this year

•                Children need at least 5 sessions of physical education every week

•                Schools following structured PE and sports programs projected healthier fitness quotient levels in children

 

Bengaluru, January 23, 2018: A recent pan-India survey conducted among school-going children reveals that the overall health and fitness levels of students has seen an alarming decline regardless of age, gender, region or city. The survey revealed that 2 out of every 3 children did not have a healthy BMI and lacked adequate overall body strength.

The nationwide study covered 1, 02, 838 children in the age group of 7 to 18 years in 252 schools across 86 cities in 26 states. The study was built into the co-scholastic curriculum of schools for the academic year 2016-2017. Students were assessed on fitness parameters like sprint capacity, flexibility, lower and upper body strength, abdominal strength and body mass index (BMI).

Children in metros fared better than those in non-metros

Children in metros reported to have a healthier BMI than those in non-metro cities. Of the surveyed students in metros, 44% had a healthier BMI as compared to 37% in non-metro cities and towns.

Boys healthier than girls

The comparative study found that 40% of boys had a healthy BMI as compared to girls, of whom only 38% reported a healthy BMI. Girls showed comparatively much lower body strength (lower, upper and abdominal) as compared to boys, while both showed a marginal difference in flexibility across age groups.

 

Introducing Fitness Quotient

Fitness Quotient (FQ) of the student is an average numerical score, which is measured on the six parameters of endurance, speed, upper body strength, lower body strength, back flexibility and abdominal strength. The overall FQ of a student is an average of his/ her fitness quotients across all fitness tests.

Compared to primary (Std. 2 – Std. 4) and middle (Std. 5 – Std. 8) school students, high (Std. 9 – Std. 12) school students projected a higher FQ (61% of students). 57% of primary and middle school students projected a desirable FQ.

 

A drastic fall in healthy BMI among children

60% of all children across Central, North, South and West India projected unhealthy BMI scores, with the exception being East India, in which 54% of children scored a healthy BMI.

 

 

 

 

 

Body Mass Index (BMI)
Healthy Unhealthy
Central 29% 71%
East 54% 46%
North 42% 58%
South 39% 61%
West 47% 53%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the solution?

High – level of inactivity among young children and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle needs the immediate attention of parents and school authorities. Global recommendations and research (Medicine 2013, P198, Chapter 5), (Spark 2013) reveals that schools, which follow a structured physical education and sports program show an increase in fitness and health levels of kids across all age groups. It was also noted that schools are best equipped to provide engaged playtime to children as compared to their homes, clubs or academies.

Medicine, Institute of. 2013. Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Washington: The National Academies Press.

Spark. 2013. sparkpe.org. June. https://sparkpe.org/blog/the-benefits-of-structured-physical-activity-for-early-childhood-programs/.

 

Playtime improves health

According to EduSports, 60 minutes of reasonably rigorous playtime everyday is ideal for a growing child to be healthier and fitter. In the second part of the study, EduSports compared data of schools with 3 or more PE periods per week versus data of schools with lesser than 3 PE periods per week. It was concluded that schools with 3 or more PE periods per week exhibited an improved fitness quotient of its students’ year-on-year.

As PE periods are one of the appropriate tools to get children to play, increasing the number of PE periods from 3 to at least 5 every week with the adoption of a structured sports program is highly recommended for schools.

 

Observations

  • A long-term and structured sports and physical education program in schools can help improve overall fitness standards of children
  • More periods per week can drastically improve children’s fitness and overall health

 

Saumil Majmudar, CEO and co-founder, EduSports says, “It is alarming and sad to note that the overall health index of students in our country has only seen a decline in the last two years. Sports is an integral part of school life and inculcates many social, mental and psychological benefits in children and therefore it must be given equal importance as academics. While we noticed that school authorities and parents are realizing the importance of active sports, unfortunately the progress is very slow, and the trend needs to be fastracked.”

About EduSports

 

EduSports, a Sportzvillage enterprise is India’s first and largest school sports organization. Currently working with over 800 schools across 250 locations, EduSports believes that SPORTS is EDUCATION. Our mission is developing healthier and fitter generation by giving a structured Sports and Physical Education (P.E.) experience to over 5 lacs children and growing.  EduSports curriculum has been developed based on NASPE (National Association for Sports and Physical education, USA). The program is designed based on five pillars:

  • Inclusive & Responsive
  • Age-appropriate Learning
  • Progress Tracking and Assessments
  • Certified trainers and coaches
  • Skill Development and Fitness

 

The program offers children an opportunity outside the class to improve fitness, build leadership and social skills and most importantly to have fun through sports. The EduSports program is designed is designed for nursery – standard 12th children as per following:

  • Fundamental Movement skills development program (N-2)
  • Multi Sports Skill Development Program (Grades 3- 5)
  • Sports Proficiency Program (Grade 6 & Above)

 

EduSports aids in developing mental skills, behavioral skills and physical conditioning through various products – Shakti (Self – Defence program), MILES (Middle School Life Skills Program), EPL & ESG (Tournaments), Accelerator (High – performance sports program) and many more.