Even as the Education department seems unable to check the sale of junk food in school canteens,an annual health examination conducted by an NGO has revealed the sorry state of the health of students. From being overweight to skipping breakfast regularly,the data may force parents to undertake a reality check of their childrens health.
Health Aid Medicare,a city-based NGO,recorded the weight,height and body-mass index of 3,600 students in the age group of 5-17 years for the survey. Of the total sample,248 children were found to be overweight while 32 were obese. The proportion of obesity was higher (10.6 per cent) in children between 12-17 years of age than in children below 11 years (5.2 per cent).
According to the survey,approximately 23 per cent of children below 11 years were frequent visitors to school canteens while 86 per cent of children above 11 years ate from there daily.
Dr Anju Gupta,secretary of the NGO,said: Children have developed bad eating habits over a period of time. With both parents working in most households,they are unable to keep track of the eating patterns of children. Moreover,parents try to make up for lost time and attention by taking children to fast food joints which further induces unhealthy eating.
She added: The most important consequence of childhood obesity is its persistence into adulthood. This leads to various health risks including cardiovascular diseases,diabetes,asthma,osteoarthritis and gall bladder disease. It is more likely to persist when its onset is in late childhood or adolescence.
The study also revealed that apart from ignoring nutritional food,children regularly missed breakfast,which has been termed as the most important meal of the day. Nearly 63 per cent of children above the age of 11 admitted that they came to school on an empty stomach and their first meal of the day was a snack from the school canteen.