According to a recent study, about 79 percent of school girls are on the brink of developing potential health risks, which include cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases.
The study, carried out by Fitterfly - a health - tech company based out of Mumbai, had covered 15,000 school children, both boys and girls, from 25 schools across Mumbai, Delhi, Navi Mumbai and Thane.
Medical experts and researchers have repeatedly worried about declining health parameters among the school-going children in the country, particularly, in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and other metros.
The only silver lining in the story is that 59 percent girls find a slot in the healthy fitness zone in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI).
The study stated that 68 percent school children (both boys and girls) in the age brackets of 5 and 17 years on a whole are clocking low on stamina, muscle strength, body composition and musculoskeletal fitness.
The boys on these parameters, however, fared better compared to girls with 59 percent being unfit, it is hardly a consolation though. The findings come as a rude shock to health care experts, teachers and parents, because, children lacking in fitness will find it hard to showcase an impressive performance either in academics or in the sports arena.
"The findings are a food for thought because child fitness is one of the most significant health markers. Medical research shows that fitness in childhood is a predictor of morbidity and mortality for diseases. Poor fitness in childhood is actually linked to 26 diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity and many more," opined Dr. Arbinder Singal of Fitterfly.
The assessment also revealed the need for 11 percent girls to urgently work on improving their aerobic capacity to get into the fitness zone since their current stamina levels are abysmally low due to sedentary lifestyle.
Experts opine that high levels of physical activity are a norm in children and a child's inability to engage in physical activity is often seen as the first indicator of childhood disease and an impending health disaster that await her in adulthood.
"The findings are really disturbing. We are now in the process of working on improving child fitness by enlisting the support of parents and by deploying appropriate tools and revamping our existing physical education system. As doctors and educators, we have to jointly work to improve the figures," said Nidhi Sirohi, Principal, G.D.Goenka Global School, Noida, which was part of the Fitterfly assessment.
Other findings of the survey include low agility, strength and endurance among girls (44 percent), increased risk of low muscle strength and agility among boys (65 percent) and overall risk of low agility, strength and endurance among boys and girls (60 percent) and the need for boys (35 percent) to engage in fitness activities to avoid the risk of obesity.