Thursday, November 21, 2013

An Active India… A Stronger India

There was a time when children played out in the open without any qualms of falling sick. They danced in the rains and splashed mud all around, building castles on the beach and playing “gilli-danda” or “lagori” on the streets. Childhood memories were made of laughter and mischief and not of common colds and flus. That was the time of our grandpas and grandmas, a time when immunity was at its high, not to be dithered by weather changes, mosquitoes and flies.

That was a time that is now steadily disappearing into the past; never to come back again.
As newer generations take birth, childhood is getting redefined. Evenings are made of iPad games and television shows while Cycling, Cricket and Football are being left behind. A slight drizzle or winds that howl now and then are reason enough for children to stay back at home glued to their screens. Add to it a healthy dose of fries and smileys and evenings turn from good to perfect for them. Happy and gay this armchair childhood might make them feel, but something will always stay amiss; something that is adding to the lines on every parent’s forehead today – Immunity and resistance to illnesses.

The slightest weather change or play in the rain leads to sneezes followed by high temperatures. Cold and Flu’s are on the rise; so are typhoid, hand, foot and mouth and the likes. If pollution gets added to this unhealthy mix consider your fate cemented for the downfall. Viruses and bacteria are growing in abundance, laughing away as their attacks get more vicious than ever. All we can do is sit back helplessly and watch as our younger generation fails to garner the immunity they require to keep these organisms at bay.

There are many factors contributing to this; most pertinent being a decreasing interest in outdoor activities and increasing effect of fast food and an imbalanced diet.

Healthier diet: pray what can that mean?
In earlier times, as soon as a child learnt to eat, they were introduced to fruits, nuts and vegetables along with the healthy doses of protein. Each meal was homemade and while sweets and savouries were loved as much, the wholesomeness in the meal was never forgotten. Given the hectic lifestyles we have today, time has become a precious commodity and the minutes spent in one’s kitchen a rare phenomenon. The helps and cooks do their bit, but the times when hot fresh food would be cooked in our kitchens for every meal are slowly on the decline. Come weekends and it is time to unwind and relax thus making eating out more convenient than at home. Evening snacks are about frozen “ready to fry” foods that never fail to sound yummy to the taste buds. Instant noodles were controlled in our diets by our parents but our love for them has ensured they stay on our children’s plate more often than they did on ours. Pizzas and burgers today count among favourite foods making them the easier option to satisfy the child’s hunger when in need. Pre-cooked and frozen foods, excessive intake of fried delicacies and increased consumption of outside meals are taking a toll on our immunity systems; imagine what they would do to that of a child’s? These need not be completely cut out, but a balance needs to be struck with nutritious food to boost immunity.

What a balanced diet ensures is that the right nutrients and supplements are provided to a child at the right time – at childhood. A child’s metabolism is extremely high and the diet can become effective only if it is channelized in the right direction – through activity and physical fitness.

Outdoor activities: why are they so important?
Early exposure to outdoor sports like our ancestors had, results in developing a robust immune system. The key word here being Early. In olden days getting wet in the monsoons while playing a game of “gully cricket” might have led to a couple of sneezes early on, but the child sprang up and went back to the game as if nothing had happened. Small bruises and cuts they might have got, bleed they would have but the child emerged with a body physically stronger. What made this possible? – The adaptability of the human body to weather and grime due to frequent exposure. After all it is well known that the physiology of a child is designed to recover faster and be more involved with their surroundings. Yes, as unusual as it might sound, if children get used to those rain drops and that sudden chill, chances are they will fall sick lesser. Last but not the least outdoor activities will imply a more active childhood developing into a habit of an active adult life. A habit for activity would in turn mean lesser tendency to lead a sedentary lifestyle in your later life. As a corollary that would mean minimal dependency on vitamin supplements to boost nutrition levels.

In addition to activity and diet, what lowers immunity is constant dependency on antibiotics and analgesics to fight ailments. They do achieve their objective and rid your body of the illness however it comes at a cost – your immunity. The stronger the antibiotic, the harsher it is on your immune system. Regaining back the lost immunity becomes a herculean task and as any doctor would put it; a healthy diet comes to the rescue. If the problem is addressed at its roots, strong medicines will not be required to address it and cause any further damage in the process.

Agility and Adaptability are two human abilities that begin to slow down with age. These characteristics are at their prime during childhood making it all the more crucial to give them the necessary boost at that age.

Immunity can always be injected through supplements however its longevity will depend on the continuous intake of those pills and syrups. If ingrained into the lifestyle right from the beginning, it will ensure a natural immune system to be developed within the body.

Recent surveys only add to the urgency to bring about a change. A grim outlook is not only limited to India but the rest of the globe as well. Today’s children are not as active and fit as their parents used to be and it is anything but a compliment to the latter. It cannot get any scarier than this.
It is a dire state of affairs but the grey cloud comes with a silver lining. Brands such as Dabur are doing their bit to help fortify the immune system from the core, in a natural (Ayurvedic) way as opposed to fighting through antibiotics... esp. with launching flavoured chyawanprash’s which can attract both young and the elder alike. As they continue to do their bit for the betterment of society, the first step to ensuring immunity must begin at home.

Parents need to give priority to their child’s health by taking a few lessons from the previous generations and in fact from their own. Guaranteeing a balanced diet and encouraging a mentally as well as physically active childhood will be the key to inculcate a robust immune system in the generations to come.

It is time to begin that journey now rather than pushing it off to later because ensuring a brighter tomorrow for our children is in nobody’s but our hands.


This post is written for Dabur Chyawanprash contest hosted by Indiblogger in association with Dabur


32 comments:

  1. Nicely written and good points. All the best for the contest.

    My entry for the contest is at http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=299732. Hope you like it.

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    1. Thanks! Went through your post and realized how medically ill equipped my post is :P

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  2. Lovely post with lovely points! They will surely build an immune India! All the best dear :)

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  3. Very valid points Seeta. With right efforts we should be able to see a stronger immune India in future.

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  4. Seeta, absolutely agree with you. Best of luck for the contest!

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  5. Very well explained...The recent report on child health (90seconds) should be alarming enough for everybody. Kids are more into video games, gadgets...Unlike us, they have not played outdoor games. Valid points u made!

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    1. Very true Shilpi... if you read the report it is rather worrying :(

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  6. Nicely presented, Seeta!
    With all the correct points!
    Truly, an active india will eb a stronger & more Immune India. When I interviewed my hubby for his view, he also said the same! 'Exercise'! :)
    Best wishes for the contest dear! :)

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    1. good food and exercise.. what more does one need :) wishes to you too!

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  7. I like your post Seeta for its more on facts and nil on fiction flavor.

    Would appreciate your candid comments on my post at http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=299726

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  8. Simple yet very well done. It was a neat post Seeta. I am glad I stumbled upon your blog. You write well and let me tell you best write ups are those that are simple, fussfree and neat. Keep it up!

    www.numerounity.com

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    1. Thank you! I have been visitng your blog quite regularly and love it always. Do keep stopping by :-)

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  9. A balanced diet and loads of outdoor activities is definitely key points that would help the kids to strengthen their immune system. Lovely lovely post pray ! ATB for contest ! :)

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    1. Thank you :) Yes the medically illiterate the person that I am.. I firmly believe these two aspects are the most important in making your children supermans and superwomens!

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  10. Very Lovely and Thoughtful Post.. :)
    Liked the way you presented the Important things related to immunity.. :D
    Good Luck for the contest.. :D

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    1. Thanks Harsha, glad you liked it :)

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  11. Seeta, your post is bang on. It reaches the root of the problem of low immunity -- lack of home cooked and natural foods, increasing consumption of low on nutrition junk food, lack of exercise, pollution, increased stress -- all are responsible in making our kids weak even though science is making rapid progress. Good luck to you for the contest!

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    1. Thank Rachna. The fundamentals were what made sense to me...didn't consider myself (medically) qualified enough to have a say on the rest :-)

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  12. Such a relevant and worth reading post.
    All the best with the contest

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  13. Very insightful post on the subject.

    All the best!

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  14. Very valid points and again a wonderful post!

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    1. Thank you Nabanita, just penned down what I see happening (and not) around me :-)

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  15. Physical activity is indeed very important. Loved your narration. Good luck, dear.

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    1. Thanks Saru and best wishes to you too :)

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  16. Our weekend menu ... well weekend used to be only the Sunday essentially since Saturday was working would be Chicken cooked at home ... And how many memorable late lunch Sundays .. Boy ..

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    1. :) That is a common "tradition" back home no? Very similar to Sunday Pot Roasts in the UK :)

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