74 per cent of India’s teenagers physically inactive: WHO | India News

MUMBAI: Eight out of every 10 teenagers in the world are not as physically active as the World Health Organisation (WHO) wants them to be. India can, however, take cold comfort in the fact that it fares wee bit better with only 73.9% of its teenagers classified as “physically inactive’’ in a WHO report published in ‘The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health’ medical journal on Friday.
Dr Shashank Joshi from Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital said, “It proves what we have feared for some time now that game time in playgrounds has been replaced by screen gaming for today’s teenagers.’’

The study, the first-ever global trend for adolescent insufficient activity, credits India’s relatively better performance to the Indian male’s obsession with cricket, which is “frequently played unstructured in local communities”, and the unwritten rule of compulsory domestic chores for teenage girls. Joshi said our relatively better performance doesn’t take away the fact that “India is largely an inactive nation’’.
The study showed more girls are inactive than boys: 85% of the girls and 78% boys could be classified as inactive for not accumulating one hour of intense activity in a day.
It also studied the changes in activity levels over a 15-year period. The prevalence of insufficient physical activity slightly decreased in boys between 2001 and 2016 (from 80% to 78%), but there was no change over time in girls (remaining around 85%).
Boys fare better in India as well: 76.6% boys in India were not adequately physically active in 2001 and the number dropped to 71.8% in 2016. The change in girls was minimal from 76.6% to 76.3%.
However, experts were skeptical about the India findings as it was too “generalised’’ and failed to address the huge rural-urban divide. Dr Joshi said India has many layers, ranging from the rural poor who walk many kilometres to school daily to urban teenagers whose time is spent shuttling between schools and classes. “We cannot generalise that 73.9% of our teenagers are physically inactive,’’ he said.

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