Categories: Paediatrics

Improving Children’s Activity and Nutrition

Healthy living is a way of life. Lifestyle diseases are dominating health problems in this country, & their impact on the youth is worrisome. It is important that children are initiated into a healthy lifestyle in a natural, happy and enjoyable manner early on in their lives. Promoting a healthy lifestyle in children is an important aspect of good parenting.


Challenge: Lack of Physical Activity

  • Inadequate activity levels have a negative impact on cardio-respiratory health
  • Inadequate activity is a major risk factor for obesity

Solution: Make Physical Activity Fun & Cool

  • Be a physically active role model
  • Encourage children to participate in 60 min of physical activity per day
  • Everyone must be physically active for at least 30 min a day on most days
  • Children & teenagers must be physically active for at least 60 min a day on most days
  • Find fun, physically active ways to celebrate special occasions, such as swimming or roller-skating parties
  • Add physical activity to weekend or vacation plans, such as hiking, biking or long walks

Challenge: Children Are Glued To the TV

  • The average child spends up to 4 hours of watching television, playing video games & surfing the net each day

Solution: Minimize Sedentary Habits

  • Restrict TV: Start by removing TV sets from children’s bedrooms & allowing a maximum of two hours of quality TV Programs per day. Try making TV commercials a time to be physically active; whether it is skipping, stretching or jumping on a trampoline
  • Enjoyable options: Encourage children to spend time with different types of media, such as reading books or dancing to music

Challenge: Eating too much & the Wrong type of Food

  • Obesity is on the rise. In the upper-income group in India, 5% of children are obese & 18% are overweight
  • Obesity has major health repercussions like diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, hypertension & respiratory problems

Solution: Make Healthy Eating a Way of Life

  • Eat together as a family, preferably at a dining table
  • Never eat while watching TV / at the computer
  • Breakfast – the most important meal of the day
  • Eat frequently & eat slowly
  • Respond to hunger cues: start eating when slightly hungry & stop when just satisfied
  • Portion control: learn how much to eat

Promote Healthy Nutrition

  • Be aware of & balance food groups
  • Food groups include grains, vegetables, fruits, milk & protein food


Overweight children often become overweight adults. It is therefore important that we monitor our child’s weight & try to maintain it in the normal healthy range. BMI (Body Mass Index) is a calculation that uses height & weight to estimate body fast. Using this tool, one can determine how appropriate a child’s weight is for his/her height & age.

The calculated BMI score is plotted on the BMI – for age growth chart (for either girls or boys) to obtain a percentile ranking. The growth chart shows the weight status categories used for children & teenagers (underweight, normal, overweight & obese)

The formula used to calculate BMI is weight in kg/ height in meter square

Weight Status Children Adults
Obese BMI>95% tile >30
Overweight BMI 85-95% tile >25
Normal BMI 5-85% tile 18.5-25
Underweight BMI <5% tile <18.5

Check your child’s BMI!


Some questions to get you thinking about your home environment:

  • How often does the family eat together?
  • How often do family members eat a wholesome breakfast?
  • What Kinds of snacks are available & accessible to your children when they are hungry?
  • Is the TV turned on during the meal times?
  • How many hours do your children go down to play (any sport/physical activity included) each day?


  • Help your children form healthy habits now.
  • Healthy & active children are more likely to be healthy & active adults.

Dr. Mahesh Balsekar | Senior Consultant – Paediatrics | SRCC Children’s Hospital, Mumbai

Narayana Health

Recent Posts

Why do we need the Booster Shot of Covid vaccine?

As we know, the government has approved the use of booster or precaution dose against…

2 days ago

Cervical Cancer

Cancer is a  group of diseases in which body cells start to grow abnormally and…

6 days ago

Helping your child with vaccine fear & anxiety

The COVID-19 pandemic has put the whole world in great danger we have never witnessed…

1 week ago

Planning to opt for IVF? Start exercising to boost immunity

With the latest advancement in medical science, many solutions are available for treating infertility. IVF…

1 week ago

Revised guidelines for home isolation

Recently the world has witnessed a surge in the new COVID cases; India is no…

2 weeks ago

Liver Health

The liver is the second largest organ in our body after skin. It is the…

2 weeks ago