Tuesday December 10, 2019

Why Are Indian Teens Less Physically Active?

WHO conducts a survey to find out why Indian Adolescents are less physically active

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Indian Teenagers
Playing cricket keeps Indian boys away from other exercises. Pixabay

Too much focus on cricket might be the reason why Indian boys are not getting sufficient physical activity, while domestic chores are keeping girls away from adequate exercise, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The study, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, found that kids aged 11 to 17 years are at the lower levels of insufficient physical activity in Bangladesh and India (where 63 per cent and 72 per cent of boys were insufficiently active in 2016, respectively).

For girls, the lowest levels of insufficient activity were seen in Bangladesh and India, and are potentially explained by societal factors, such as increased domestic chores in the home for girls.

According to the WHO, levels of insufficient physical activity in adolescents continue to be extremely high, compromising their current and future health.

“Urgent policy action to increase physical activity is needed now, particularly to promote and retain girls’ participation in physical activity,” said study author Dr Regina Guthold, WHO.

The study also found that more than 80 per cent of adolescents worldwide are not physically active, including 85 per cent girls and 78 per cent boys, putting their health at risk by not doing regular exercise and spending too much time on screen.

For the findings, the researchers estimated how many 11 to 17-year-olds do not meet this recommendation by analysing data collected through school-based surveys on physical activity levels.

Indian girl
The household keeps the Indian girls away from enough physical activity. Pixabay

The assessment included all types of physical activity, such as time spent in active play, recreation and sports, active domestic chores, walking and cycling or other types of active transportation, physical education and planned exercise.

Based on data reported by 1.6 million 11 to 17-year-old students – the research found that across all 146 countries studied between 2001-2016, girls were less active than boys in all but four (Tonga, Samoa, Afghanistan and Zambia).

Also Read- Physical Activity and Healthy Diet can cut the Risk of Heart Attack in Children

According to the study, physical activity trends show slight improvement for boys, none for girls. Most countries in the study (73 per cent, 107 of 146) saw this gender gap widen between 2001-2016.

“The trend of girls being less active than boys is concerning,” said study co-author Dr Leanne Riley, WHO.

“More opportunities to meet the needs and interests of girls are needed to attract and sustain their participation in physical activity through adolescence and into adulthood,” Riley added. (IANS)

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Protein Deficiency Ordinary Among Indians: Experts

Experts say sedentary lifestyles and inadequate protein deficient diets are having a huge impact on the muscle health

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Nuts Reduces Protein Deficiency
Too little protein may cause changes in body composition that develop over a long period of time, such as muscle wasting. Pixabay

Like iron and calcium deficiency, protein deficiency is also common among Indians, say experts.

Most Indians think that protein deficiency is not an important concern. The most common myths are that protein is only for body-builders or gym-goes, and that diet gives one enough protein and cutting on protein is a good way to lose weight.

The latest survey by the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) to ascertain the levels of protein deficiency and awareness about protein in India showed 73 per cent of urban rich is protein deficient with 93 per cent of them unaware about their daily protein requirements.

These revelations find resonance in the Inbody-IPSOS study of 2018 which illustrated that 71 per cent Indians have poor muscle health and 68 per cent have lower protein content than adequate levels.

According to the National Sample Survey Office (2011-12), rural households consumed 56.5g of protein (reduced from 60.2g in 1993-94), while urban households were taking in 55.7g (57.2g in 1993-94).

Experts say sedentary lifestyles and inadequate protein deficient diets are having a huge impact on the muscle health.

Proteins are essential at all stages of life, even after growth and development since humans constantly lose protein through normal physiological losses and it needs to be replenished.

“A sedentary lifestyle and inadequate protein diet can lead to poor muscle health which may affect productivity of adults,” Nandan Joshi, Danone India’s head of medical affairs, told IANS.

“The loss of muscle mass starts as early as in the 30s. We lose about 3-5 per cent muscle every decade. However, by consuming adequate protein and engaging in physical activity, we can control the muscle loss and stay active,” Joshi added.

Milk Reduces Protein Deficiency
Milk is an emulsion or colloid of butterfat globules within a water-based fluid that contains dissolved carbohydrates and protein aggregates with minerals. Pixabay

The IMRB study was conducted in seven cities with 73 per cent of people surveyed being protein deficient.

“Since protein is such an integral part of our diet, one should strive to consume an adequate amount of protein in daily diet — one gm/kg of body weight. For example, an egg contains six gm, so either you can fulfil your requirement through diet or through supplements,” Joshi said.

Good quality protein could come from meat, milk, eggs as well as legumes and pulses. The quality of protein is related to the presence of all essential amino acids as well as its digestibility.

Vegetarians can include a combination of pulses along with cereals.

ALSO READ: Here’s Why Excess Consumption of Protein is Harmful for your Body

Besides pulses, other sources are legumes, green peas, soybean, paneer, tofu, sprouts, etc.

One should also include fistful of nuts, roasted peanuts or chana along with seeds cocktail as a protein snack. (IANS)