Addressing the Lack of Vitamin D & Calcium, One Step at a Time
Sophisticated lifestyle, busy routines and sun tan has deprived us from the basic nutrients we gain from the nature, which has led to several deficit among us, like Vitamin D and Calcium. To address some, recently, Madhya Pradesh Education Department has instructed the schools to resume the physical activities such as Yoga, PT and outdoor games, to tackle the increased vitamin and calcium deficit among students that are caused due to the lack of sun exposure. In addition, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has also insisted all the states and Union Territories to carry out physical activities under the sun to attend the diseases, like rickets (soft bones and skeletal deformities) which again is caused due to Vitamin D deficiency.
Many schools in India lack the basic amenities such as qualified staffs, proper classrooms, drinking water, sanitation facilities, playgrounds and more. For instance, it was observed by the educational department that the MP schools do not perform morning prayers and outdoor activities due to the scarcity of faculty members. Few government schools without playgrounds use the adjacent playgrounds or municipal grounds for their students to play, though it is a mandatory norm for every recognized school to own a playground under the Right to Education Act. Lack of these basic facilities is certainly an issue, but neither the educational department nor the schools are taking any serious measures to overcome these predicaments.
Putting them on Switch On Mode
Getting children unplugged from the screens and inducing outdoor activities is quite a challenging task, especially in this era where every individual tends to lead a sedentary lifestyle. As a result of this inactive lifestyle, almost every person is undergoing a lot of health issues, Vitamin deficiency is the most common and prominent among all. Nearly 80 percent of urbanites and 70 percent of rural population in India suffer from vitamin D deficiency; this D deficiency leads to serious conditions like osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults and rickets among children.
It is recommended that kids include a minimum of 60 minutes of rigorous or moderate physical activities in their daily routine to attain the much needed physical and mental fitness. The children who play in the open space receive higher level of vitamin D, which helps in strengthening their bones and immune systems; and also kids diagnosed with ADHD experience lesser symptoms after playing outdoors. Furthermore, it also helps them stay away from the growing health issues among kids such as obesity, diabetics and more. But, only 42 to 47 percent of urbanites in India spend about an hour in a week performing outdoor activities.
To inculcate outdoor activity in student’s routine, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced the allocation of a period for sports every day, and it is made compulsory in the time table from class one to 12. The board has also decided to induce physical health education and life skills in the curriculum, which include individual & group activity, sports, health education and social empowerment. Furthermore, the school authorities and the educational department should make the necessary arrangements such as proper playground, outdoor sports equipments, well trained PT staff and also proper safety measures for students.
Several schools conduct sports event and inter-level sports competition, but the faculty members does not give much importance to the physical activities as compared to the academics; some teachers even acquire the PT hours to rush through their syllabus. To overcome these issues, the school authorities could intervene and encourage students to participate in the outdoor activities, while can also conduct the extracurricular activity classes such as yoga, painting, craft, music, karate and more in the open space, as it does not require the regular classroom environment.
Vitamin D deficit could also be addressed with a healthy diet of vitamin D fortifies foods such as some dairy products, soy milk, cereals and also by taking vitamin D supplements as recommended about 600 IU (international units) for all until the age of 70 and 800 IU for pregnant women and adults above 70 years. However, it is difficult for a person to obtain the vitamin D that their body needs just through food intake. Hence it’s ideal for one to give themselves few minutes a day to perform some physical activities outdoor, under the sun to keep themselves away from all the deficits.
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