Contracting Lifestyle Disease in Adulthood

A recent study has found that about 10% of school children in Bengaluru are obese. 13.8% children are at risk of contracting lifestyle disease in adulthood with waistlines which are more than half their height.

School-based screening of 104,105 children studying in 138 private schools has revealed some alarming trends in school students in Bengaluru. The study was conducted by AddressHealth, the provider of health services in schools for children in India. The survey data was compiled over the current academic year and revealed a significant degree of malnutrition (both over and undernutrition) among children – with 9.2% of children being obese and another 13.7% children falling into the overweight category (overnutrition) while about 8.5% of them are too thin for their age (undernutrition).

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Apart from this, 28.6% of school children have dental caries (cavities) while 15.1% have newly detected/ worsening vision problems. In addition, more than 200 children had previously undetected cardiac murmurs, and 70 children had previously undetected hearing defects. Commenting on the survey results Dr. Anand Lakshman, Founder and CEO, AddressHealth, said, “Children are increasingly vulnerable due to a variety of lifestyle. And environmental factors such as the proliferation of fast food options, lack of physical activity, too much screen time etc.

We believe Contracting lifestyle disease in adulthood, reveals a recent study By InnoHealth Editorial Team 40 Volume 3 | Issue 3 | July-September 2018 Key findings of the survey :

• About 10% of primary school children are obese. Further 13% of children overweight and 9.4% of those in middle and secondary school are too thin;
• Vision problems are more common among children in the primary and secondary age group with 1 in 7 and 1 in 5 children affected, respectively;
• Dental caries has emerged as the most neglected chronic condition among children; and
• Nearly 8% of children have clinical signs of anemia

Schools and parents/guardians should place adequate emphasis on children’s health and well-being. Beyond the usual vaccines and episodes of sickness, failing which non-communicable diseases will only become more common in the younger generation. The times are changing, and new age problems need to be addressed proactively and continuously. The data from our mental health program also suggests a moderate risk of mental health conditions amongst school children such as emotional difficulties, behavioral issues and lack of social skills”.

“Schools are not just centers for imparting formal education but also institutions that influence values, beliefs and importantly practices. A healthy lifestyle including hygiene habits must be inculcated during childhood. These positive behaviors will last through to adulthood and for the rest of a person’s life. Children are naturally inquisitive and keen learners. They can thus become both the beneficiaries and the agents of change in the family,” added Dr. Lakshman.

AddressHealth has conducted surveys in 177 schools covering 1,26,467 children across 4 Indian cities including Bengaluru, and data points to similar trends across cities with a high likelihood of chronic diseases in adulthood.

The number of children covered by the surveys over the last 12 months. It includes 1,04,105 children in Bengaluru, 652 in Delhi, 18,422 in Hyderabad, and 3,288 in Pune. The prevalence of various conditions across these four cities is as follows: obese as per BMI for age standards (8.8%), over-weight but not obese (12.6%), low BMI (8.5%), risk of lifestyle diseases [Waist/Height Ratio>0.5] (14.6%), vision problems (14.6%), and dental caries (29.7%). About 219 and 9101 children are at risk of potential heart defects and clinical anemia, respectively.

Obesity is seen across income groups. But rising rapidly in the schools catering to higher income groups and primary and secondary school children. There is an increasing trend of the risk of lifestyle disease, due to reduced physical activity, which is reflected in the significant percentage of children with a higher than recommended waist-to-height ratio.

AddressHealth’s school health services are designed by a team of pediatricians, public health experts, child psychiatrists, psychologists, nutritionists and other health professionals. The services include Annual Health check-ups for children; Medical Room / Tele-infirmary; School Emotional/Mental Wellbeing Services (Nurturing Schools Program); and Health Education with Workbooks (Standard 1st to 8th). Currently AddressHealth’s services encompass ~ 200,000 children in over 200 schools in Bengaluru, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad & Pune The AddressHealth School Health Program is based on WHO guidelines for schools.

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