Posted on: November 16, 2019 Posted by: admin Comments: 0

first_imgWhenever we take up the subject of child health, it is more often than not discovered that the discussions focus on infants and children under the age of 5. While this emphasis is understandable, since they are physically the most vulnerable category, the neglect of the pre-adolescent children is baffling.Even while formulating the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the focus remained on the health of children below 5 years of age. One major reason behind this could be the fact that children in this age group are the healthiest in comparison to the other categories.However, it is also important to note that over a million children in the age group of 5 to 14 died in the year 2015 and several others suffer from health issues as per UNICEF data.Why does the 5-14 age group need more attention?The 5-14 age group is an extremely critical component of demographics. This is when children come out of their childhood innocence and start finding their feet in the world.A normal child starts formal schooling at about 5 years of age and by the time he/she reaches the age of 14, the foundation for the life trajectory is laid.Children in these formative years find their own identity, passions, and preferences and discover their life ambitions.As they evolve from innocent, incoherent toddlers into self-conscious individuals with their own responsibilities and expectations, these children need a solid support system.Since they are historically in the healthiest bracket, attention on their health and wellness topics is usually inadequate or absent.advertisement How parents overlook the importance of proper health and fitness of childrenAs a child becomes capable of controlling the motor skills, thoughts and words, parents start focusing on the education and personality aspects, taking it for granted that the child would remain in the pink of health. They strive to ensure best schooling, life’s luxuries and future planning aspects for them.Even as a society, it is assumed that children are capable of independently handling themselves and should be subjected to moral, behavioural and academic teachings.However, their physical endurance and psychological constitution are often overlooked and any failure on the part of children to display a healthy persona is often attributed to lack of intent or focus.Unsuspecting parents keep channelling their time and resources to provide the comforts of life to their children. In fact, most modern parents go out of their way to remove roadblocks and insulate their children from life’s challenges.Whether it is the school admission or homework, dealing with the teachers or school bullies, deciding the future careers of their children or anything else, parents take it all upon themselves.In fact, it is often seen that they try to ensure the academic or competitive success of their children by helping them pass in exams or get favourable feedback from evaluators. This practice of pro-active and protective parenting is known as Snow Plow Parenting in today’s times. Repercussions of ‘Snow Plow Parenting’It is undeniable that most parents only endeavour to provide a comfortable life and a great future to their children. However, in their quest to do so, they often inadvertently end up causing more harm than good.They channel all their efforts into ensuring great education and material luxuries for the children and get so engrossed in future building that they don’t realize the importance of present building.Children today are increasingly experiencing problems such as physical inactivity, obesity and lack of nutrients. Their parents remain too busy solving maths problems but lack focus on the child’s health problems.This results in children becoming unhealthy and overly reliant on their parents for even the basic needs and tasks.They experience anxiety, panic or inability to undertake daily life tasks unassisted and while interacting with the society independently.This eventually transforms them into failed and frightened individuals. Need to join hands to improve health and fitness of childrenDespite the criticality and neglect, it is not a grim picture for the children in the 5-14 age group.What is important is for the various stakeholders such as the children, their parents, educational institutes, health and wellness experts and the authorities to jointly work towards improving the situation.Parents should imbibe values for a healthy living in their children. Children need to be encouraged to spend time out in the open, undertake exercises, eat balanced diets and personal hygiene etc.Schools and educational institutions can help their students/learners by setting up support’ systems that proactively respond to the biological and psychological changes that children experience in early teenage years. They should put greater emphasis on sports and physical activities.Authorities should form more relevant and executable guidelines, regulations, etc. for the wellness of children. There should be awareness campaigns conducted on a regular basis, similar to the regulations and campaigns run to address the health issues of infants and under 5 year olds.Health and wellness experts should promote aspects like importance of physical activities among children, nutritional guidelines and also create facilities where children can come and indulge in rejuvenating physical activities.advertisementHow it would benefit kids?Focusing strategically on the health and wellness of the children and encouraging them to be physically active, take responsibilities, has great benefits for all. The children will become happier and healthier.They will be able to withstand the rigours of 21st century life better and become less prone to lifestyle diseases such as obesity, breathing and stamina related problems.While all the above-mentioned stakeholders need to play their roles in improving health among the children, the impetus must come primarily from parents. They are the biggest influences on their children when they enter the 5+ age group.By inculcating and encouraging positive health and fitness practices among the children, parents can become instrumental in building a robust society altogether!- Article by Dr. Tejal Kanwar, Founder, Kleinetics (a physical fitness-system servicing company)Read: Over 50% schoolchildren have dental issues, 19% are obese, 1 in 2 need glasses: ReportRead: Are our schools actually harming children with humiliation, sarcasm and caning? How can we create an NEP for kids’ safety?Read: Does your child have the right social and emotional skills to live a good life in the 21st centurylast_img

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