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Why you should be worried about students’ health

Schoolgirls walking in Delhi.

The findings of a report researching the health of Indian students have  raised a number of concerns about the health of India’s children.

The research screened 176,240 schoolchildren aged two to seventeen across twenty Indian cities. Those screened were assessed on numerous health parameters and it was discovered that a significant proportion of India’s students suffer from various health issues, including throat, eye, hearing, and weight problems.

The report highlighted that 30.4 percent of Indian students suffer from an abnormal body mass index (BMI), a measurement for whether your weight is healthy relative to height. Nineteen percent of the children screened are obese, the research found. The report suggested a positive correlation between ageing and obesity. The rate of overweight and obesity increased by seven percentage points between pre-primary and primary grade children, before registering a 26 percent increase between primary grade students and children of secondary school age.

“25.3 percent of children screened suffered from abnormal vision…by the time they reach secondary school, as many as half of kids may require glasses”

In terms of oral health, the report did not contain promising findings. More than half of those surveyed suffered from dental issues, the report suggested. Almost 27 percent of those screened presented with cavities. Meanwhile, 6,200 of those screened suffered throat-related issues.

On vision, students did not fare much better. In total, 25.3 percent of children screened suffered from abnormal vision. However, against this average, it was found that by the time they reach secondary school, as many as half of kids may require glasses. A potential one-third of children still suffer from sight problems even while wearing glasses, suggestive of a lack of follow-up after an initial evaluation with an optometrist.

“It is schoolchildren who represent a country’s future potential”

Hearing and breathing also presented problems for some segments of the children screened. 106 suffered from some manner of hearing impairment. Many presented with issues related to auscultatory factors – issues related to the circulatory and respiratory systems. 711 of the children screened suffered from such impairments, which can include irregular heartbeat and impaired respiratory function, observable in traits such as wheezing.

The wellbeing of students is an important consideration for a country to make, as it is schoolchildren who represent a country’s future potential. Ensuring that there is adequate access to support for a range of health issues which may afflict schoolchildren, and that screening efforts and preventative measures are undertaken, is vital for keeping students healthy and strengthening the wellbeing of the nation as a whole.

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