Catching them young – Health-Wise

About three weeks ago, I came across a news report on how a “heart-healthy lifestyle” was missing in 9 out of 10 children in Punjab and Delhi. The report was based on a study carried out by Dr Rajneesh Kapoor, Vice-Chairman of Interventional Cardiology at Medanta Hospital. The study examined 3,200 children in the age group of 5 to 18 years through a questionnaire-based assessment on parameters that affect cardiovascular health.
Before I go into more details of the study, I wish to share my concerns on what the results of a similar study would possibly indicate, if conducted, on the basic hygiene of young girls in the age group of 5 to 12 years and menstrual hygiene from then onwards in our country. Obviously, it would be apathetic and shocking. I also wonder what the results of such a study would be in slum areas and in the villages. Equally shocking would be the steps – or lack of them -being taken by schools, parents and the society in general on improving basic hygiene/ menstrual health of this strata.
To come back to the cardiovascular health, against a maximum attainable score of 100, 24 percent of the study population had a score of less than 40. Most (68 percent) featured in the 40-70 score category. Only 8 percent of all children led a lifestyle that met all the criteria needed for a healthy cardiovascular system.
Obesity was seen to be prevalent in 38 percent of the study population.
I feel that though the primary responsibility for children leading a healthy lifestyle rests with the parents, given the state of ignorance and lack of awareness among them, this would remain a formidable challenge. Maybe the government needs to inculcate some kind of health regimen in schools on the lines of the mid-day meals that are provided in schools.
Taking a cue from this cardiovascular study, let us gear up for carrying out similar surveys on basic hygiene/ menstrual health. Perhaps NGOs like Rani Breast Cancer Trust (RBCT) could help and get this done through government and private schools. This would require clear directions from the government so that the NGOs face no hassles in schools. It would also be necessary that such surveys don’t gather dust and are acted upon. The responsibility for that would rest squarely on the government departments like education and social welfare. Needless to say, we at RBCT are always ready to pitch in.

Blog/ Kanwar Sandhu (Source: Indian Express. September 2, 2022)

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