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School children lagging in health, fitness parameters: Survey

Education

School children lagging in health, fitness parameters: Survey

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Sportz Village, through its award-winning EduSports in-school Physical Education & Sports program has been working to improve sports education in India since 2009 and has been assessing children’s health on a national level for the past 12 years. The post-covid survey revealed that children are displaying alarmingly poor fitness levels across India. The nationwide study has covered children in the age groups of 6 to 16 years from 120 schools across 20 cities and towns. The children were assessed on various parameters in both private and public schools across India. The parameters assessed were Body Mass Index (BMI), Aerobic capacity, Anaerobic capacity, Core Strength, Flexibility, Upper body strength and lower body strength.

The covid-19 pandemic did disrupt many aspects of the daily life of children, including physical activity levels and has had a negative impact on the health and well-being of many individuals globally. During the pandemic, schools were closed for extended periods of time, which led to reduced opportunities for physical activity and outdoor play. Additionally, restrictions on movement and social distancing guidelines may have limited the ability of children to participate in organized sports or physical activities outside of their homes.

Speaking on the findings Saumil Majmudar, CEO & Managing Director, Sportz Village, said “Last year, schools resumed in-person classes. At that point in time, the long-term effect of the pandemic on the physical fitness of Indian children was still unclear. The findings prove that the school closures, due to the pandemic, had an adverse effect. The lack of health and fitness among such a large number of children yet again proves that physical activities in schools are of great importance and are needed for the overall development of children. Schools need to view sports as an integral part of education and should provide opportunities to engage in structured physical activities to ensure that each and every child is engaged Sportz Village’s EduSports program aims to bridge this gap and is integrated into the school timetable and calendar.”

Key findings

  • Total number of children surveyed 20,000 across India
  • 2 in 5 children do not have a healthy BMI
  • 2 in 3 children do not have the adequate upper body strength
  • 3 in 5 children do not have the adequate lower body strength
  • 2 in 5 children do not have the desired abdominal strength
  • 1 in 4 children do not possess the desired flexibility

 

Fitness levels comparative analysis: Boys versus Girls 

The survey also showed the difference in performance between boys and girls with boys performing better in lower body strength, core strength & aerobic capacity & girls performing better in upper body strength.

 

 

Private schools versus Public schools

The survey further compares the fitness levels of children in public/government schools to the children in private schools. Children from Private schools outperformed government school children in most categories with significantly better performances (more than 5 %) in upper body strength, flexibility & core strength.

 

 

Impact of Covid on children

The survey also compared the performance of 3000 children before and after covid to study the impact of school closures on children’s health. It was found that performance in all parameters except flexibility had gone down. This highlights the importance that schools play in maintaining children’s health.

 

 

 

 

 

Parameters description:

Body Mass Index (BMI): A value derived from the weight and height of an individual and is used to gauge whether a person is within a healthy weight range.

Aerobic capacity: The ability of the heart and lungs to get oxygen to the muscles.

Anaerobic capacity: The total amount of energy from the anaerobic (without oxygen) energy systems. It is useful during high intensity short duration exercises or tasks such as sprinting.

Abdominal or Core strength: The strength of the muscles of the torso which helps to determine posture.

Flexibility: The ability of one’s joints to move freely.

Upper body strength: The strength of muscles such as Pectorals (chest), Rhomboids (upper back), Deltoids (outer shoulder), Triceps (back of upper arm) and Biceps (front of upper arm).

Lower body strength: The strength of muscles in the legs such as quadriceps (the muscles on the front of the upper leg), Hamstrings (the muscles on the back of the upper leg), Gluteals, Hip Flexors, and Calf muscles.

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