In the 80's & 90’s when we were growing up most of us used to be quite lean. This can be attributed to our level of physical activity. We used to walk or cycle to school. As we did not have any distraction from Smartphones, so in our free time we used to participate in unstructured physical activities such as climbing trees, chasing the kites and many others. Further, we hardly indulged in junk food (there was no Swiggy or Zomato) and special food or eating out was once in a month activity. Watching television was limited to half to one hour with a movie on VHS player on the weekend. I can vouch that this was the lifestyle of almost every middle class child.
In terms of overweight, we might have had one or two overweight kids whom we used to call “Khaate peete ghar ke” or from more affluent families. The percentage of them would not have been more than 5%.
Cut to present day and the number of “Khaate peete ghar ka” kids have increased by almost 500%. Quarter of our adolescent population (middle and upper middle class) is overweight or obese. In fact there was a study done in 2019 in bangalore that found out that 27% of kids are overweight (Study 1). So, as our affluence has increased, more and more kids have moved to the “Khate peete ghar ka” category. This transition is taking place at such a pace that WHO has termed it as a global epidemic.
Everybody knows the reason for this phenomenon. During our school days, physical activity was a ‘way of life’ but nowadays it has become a ‘choice’. More and more kids take buses and private transport to schools, so cycling or walking does not come as a daily mandatory activity. The TV hours have increased and smartphones have made the matter worse. Even parents discourage their children from doing physical activity and want them to ‘Sit and Study’. What this has done is that kids have started taking physical health and fitness for granted.
In terms of food as well, the choices have become very unhealthy. Now, we have access to junk food 24/7 and to make matters worse kids eat while watching TV which has hampered their ability to eat judiciously.
Now, what are the long term consequences of this change in Lifestyle of our children? The kids of this generation are more vulnerable to many non communicable and lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetics and hypertension during their adulthood. There are studies which link lack of exercise in the formative years of the child to more likelihood of injuries in adulthood (Study 2). This is because during the adolescence when the growth spurt happens the lack of activity might lead to bones and muscles not growing to the optimal level. Another study suggests that the lack of physical activity during the youth also leads to children developing depressive behaviour during their adulthood (Study 3). (We have another article to discuss both of the above studies)
So, to avoid these situations in future, the solution is very simple: get your child to start moving. And to ensure your kids don’t end up with weak bones or depressive behaviour or a cardiovascular disease just grab a ball, pick up a racket, or lace up your sneakers and get active together. If that does not work then call us at Xdrona. We are here to help your child become an active individual
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