Photo: HT
Photo: HT

India’s schoolchildren suffer from abnormal BMI, vision, dental issues: report

  • The report says around 25.5% children of all students screened have abnormal vision, 30.4% abnormal BMI and over 50% have dental issues
  • On the ENT parameters, 6,200 students were found with throat related issues, 106 students with impaired hearing and 711 cases of non-normal auscultation, says the report

NEW DELHI: A substantial number of children in the age group 2 to 17 years in India are suffering from health problems ranging from abnormal BMI and vision, dental, ear nose and throat (ENT) and hygiene related issues, a report released by Jarma Wellness, a health consultancy firm on Thursday revealed.

The report titled ‘Enhancing the Effectiveness and Impact of Schools: Insights from School Health Screening Program is based on findings and observations from their School Health Screening Program, conducted for over 40 Schools and 300 pre-primary centers belonging to different socio-economic backgrounds spread across 20 cities in India on over 1,76,240 children ranging from 2 to 17 years of age.

The findings of the report revealed that around 25.5% children had abnormal vision, 30.4% of all students screened had abnormal BMI, over 50% of all students screened were found to have dental issues and close to 27% students had cavities. The report also shows a significant jump from 16% to 23% students in the overweight and obese category as the child moves from pre-primary to primary grades, and goes up to 26% in higher secondary.

The report covered cities - Ludhiana, Mathura, Renukoot, Jaipur, Patna, Kolkata/Howrah, Raipur, Sambalpur (Odisha), Mumbai Metropolitan Region (Mumbai, Navi-Mumbai, Panvel, Thane, Kalyan etc.), Pune, Surat, Ahmedabad, Bharuch, Nagpur, Bangalore, Mysore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and Mangalore.

The number of children with uncorrected Myopia/Hyperopia and wearing glasses touches nearly 50% in higher-secondary section indicating that potentially 1 in every 2 children may need glasses. Undetected vision problems at young age have a far-reaching impact on a child, not just on the eyesight impairment front but also on the mental wellbeing of the child, the report stated. The report also noted that 1 in 3 children wear glasses but still have a non-normal vision indicating lack of periodic screening after the initial evaluation.

“Our health screening data shows a clear need for focused effort to improve health of children and young people through preventive healthcare. A continued failure to act will have serious ramifications for the health of generations to come," said Akshay Shah, Co-Founder, Jarma Wellness.

On the ENT parameters, overall 6,200 students were found with throat related issues, 106 students have been identified with impaired hearing and 711 cases of non-normal auscultation (wheezing etc.). Of the total students screened 7,564 have pallor (paleness or loss of colour from the skin or mucous membranes.

“Taking care of one’s health, hygiene and safety is perhaps the most important life skill that can be inculcated among the student population and thus it is one of the key areas in which schools can invest time and resources. Many of the health problems, especially lifestyle diseases, are preventable and treatable, and tackling them will also bring huge social and economic benefits for India," said Nimish Thaker, Co-Founder, Jarma Wellness.

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