22.3% schoolchildren in state overweight: Survey

A survey by EduSports has found that 22.3 per cent schoolchildren in Maharashtra are overweight. In fact, the obesity level among schoolchildren in the state is higher than the national average of 19.94 per cent. Along with Pune, the study covered schools in Akola, Amravati, Malkapur and Gondia.

For the third edition of the survey, EduSports School Health and Fitness Survey, for the year 2011-12, 49,046 children between 7 and 17 were studied from 104 schools in 54 cities across 18 states. The survery covered 9,153 children inlcuding 5,375 boys and 3,778 girls in 14 schools from Maharashtra.

The factors surveyed included seven basic fitness indicators such as endurance, anaerobic capacity, flexibility, body strength (upper, lower, and abdominal) and body mass index (BMI).

According to the survey, only 53.1 per cent students in the state have a healthy BMI. 22.5 per cent student in Maharashtra are overweight and 24.1 per cent are underweight.

Nationally the average percentage of kids with healthy BMI is 60.75 per cent, while 19.94 and 19.31 per cent were over and underweight respectively.

27,463 boys and 21,583 girls were studied across the country. "While one out of four children in the metros of Delhi/NCR, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Pune and Ahmedabad were overweight one in six children were obese in other cities. Also a startling 49.9 per cent were low in flexibility, 42 per cent had low abdominal strength, 65 per cent does not have enough strenght in their upper bodies while 54 per cent were not strong enough in their lower bodies," said a EduSports spokesperson.

"While the problem of low fitness levels is equally prevalent among boys and girls, fitness levels fall and obesity increases as the children grow older. Even as a majority of the children are able to walk or run non-stop for five minutes, displaying acceptable levels of endurance, almost 40 per cent do not have the anaerobic capacity. While efforts are being made to build infrastructure in and outside schools to get children to play. The survey results suggests that more than infrastructure, building a fitter and healthier generation is important," the spokesperson added.

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