In the last decade, India has seen a great change in lifestyle in the urban setup. The dawn of fast food centres, urbanisation, digital TV, Internet, etc has lead to a major change in lifestyle.
For young children with playgrounds being turned into malls or multi-storeyed buildings, outdoor games have shifted indoors to the likes of Sims 2, Need For Speed, etc.
"Cricket, football and badminton are out so are hide 'n' seek, langdi, seven tiles and the others are also long gone from the games most kids today play. My sons only play computer games. I am not even sure what their names are. They keep fighting for computer time and are continually killing someone or racing," said Parul Sharma, 40 whose sons are 14 years-old and 7-years-old.
Yash Lal, 45, who has a 15 year-old son and 13-year-old daughter agrees with Sharma as he says, "I remember as a kid playing all sorts of games and always being out, playing. I literally have to force my kids to go out to play after school. The other day I asked my daughter if she played four corners and she told me she had no idea what the game was. I was shocked."
The lack of exercise and outdoor games is contributing to obesity and is also leading to multiple health complications in teenagers and young adults.
Dr Krishna Kapoor, a Mumbai based doctors said, "I have a number of young women who come to with menstruation problems who I often refer to a gynaecologist. Many young people also suffer from various lifestyle diseases like heart problems, diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, depression and obesity. The main reason I would say is lack of proper physical exercise."
Lizelle Rego, a psychologist with a Mumbai school said, "I have many children who describe their day and tell me that they are either at school or tuition and when they go home they prefer playing on the computer rather than out. I personally feel that computer games lead to kids being more violent. Playing out helps children release their energy and mentally helps them a lot. The new way of life with more time indoors in front of the computer is not healthy."
Dr Kamini Pandit, a child specialist said, "Obesity in children is on the rise also due to fast foods that are increasingly becoming part of daily foods that children eat. Yeah games help burn calories and sedentary games are not helping the cause of children who are much more unhealthy that they were say even five years ago. My advise to parents would be encourage your children to go out and play and include more healthy foods like greens, sprouts, etc."