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41 per cent children in Chennai have unhealthy BMI, finds study

DTNext 2019-02-11 00:00:00

Despite steps being taken by the Health Department, NGOs, doctors and the like in creating awareness on the importance of a healthy nutrition among children, a recent study has found that 41 per cent of the children in Chennai have an unhealthy Body Mass Index.

Reference image Chennai: While there is a common misconception that a plump child is healthier, it has been found that a large percentage of such school children are actually obese. “Obesity in childhood is associated with a wide range of serious health complications and an increased risk of premature illness. In fact, once obese, a child can also develop diabetes and heart diseases as early as in their twenties,” said Dr Soundari K, a general practitioner, adding that BMI becomes helpful to check whether a person is within a healthy mass range or not.
As children tend to spend most of their time in schools, it is important that schools monitor what is being sold in their canteens. The school environment is a good set-up to address a child’s consumption choice and sedentary behaviour. “The availability and accessibility of unhealthy foods like sweetened drinks, unhealthy snacks and the like are factors that cause such problems. In fact, children today avoid the consumption of fruits and vegetables and milk and solely depend on junk foods [instead],” said dietician Lavanya M.
The ninth Annual School Health Survey, 2019, conducted by EduSports, had revealed that the fitness and BMI levels of school children in India - regardless of age, gender, region or city - continue to be far from satisfactory. It found that two in every five children do not have a healthy BMI and that 41 per cent of children in the city do not have a healthy BMI.
“Children are becoming less active for environmental or interpersonal reasons. Lack of physical activity increases the risk of obesity and health-related problems in adolescence, and adulthood. Besides maintaining a healthy diet, children should be encouraged to engage in physical activities as well,” added Dr Soundari.