Lifestyle diseases strike early, 20% schoolchildren vulnerable

HYDERABAD: A new health study across city schools revealed disturbing trends on various health disorders among schoolchildren in Hyderabad with 1 in 5 kids vulnerable to lifestyle and metabolic diseases in adulthood. At least 20% of 18,000 children surveyed are at risk. Assessment was based on their waist-height ratio, which was in excess of the standard 0.5% in a survey by Address Health, which provides health services in schools. The numbers in Hyderabad are higher as compared to 12% at-risk children in Pune.

The survey was conducted during the current academic year in 36 private schools in Hyderabad and covered approximately 18,000 children in different age and income groups. Of the children studied 1,620 (9 per cent) were found to be obese, 1,980 (11per cent) were overweight and 5,400 (30 per cent) children were found to be malnourished — undernourished or over-nourished.


It also revealed vision and dental problems in a significant number of children. “At least 13.5% schoolchildren (2,450) across various age-groups have vision problems and nearly 1 in 6 students studying in class 1 and above suffer from vision problems that need correction with spectacles. Also, one in three children surveyed suffer from dental caries with pre-school children having more dental caries due to poor oral hygiene and eating habits.

Overall 38% (6,640) of total children surveyed across different age-groups were also affected by dental cavities,” stated the report-.The survey outlines the need for schools to create awareness on health issues and the importance of an active lifestyle, healthy eating and staying away from substance addiction at the pre-primary stage.

“Non-communicable diseases are striking at an early age due to factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, change in diet pattern and inadequate focus on children’s health by many schools and parents . This trend needs an urgent change, failing which, many children will be at a higher risk of contracting lifestyle disorders as adults,” said Dr Anand Lakshman, founder, Address Health.0