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Stressed Indian School Children Have High Blood Pressure

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New Delhi (dpa) - A three-year study revealed many Indian school children have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, it was reported Sunday.

Sponsored by the Indian Council of Medical Research, the study was conducted on 800 children between the ages of 13-18, the Times of India reported.

Thirty-five per cent had high blood pressure, while 25 percent were diagnosed with high cholesterol levels, the study found. About 35 percent of the children were found to be underweight, while 13 percent were overweight.

School principal Gouri Ishwaran said the Indian examination system causes considerable stress as everything is based on scores.

Added to this is parental pressure to perform. "Parents want their children to do too much, too soon. So, besides scoring in class, a child is expected to attend music, dance and craft classes and perform there as well," Ishwaran said.

Psychiatrist Sameer Parikh said lack of physical activity and junk food binges have ensured increasing numbers of school children are diagnosed with lifestyle-related ailments.

"Children flop down in front of the TV in the name of relaxation. The playgrounds remain empty. Instead of releasing stress, it only leads to a build-up," Parikh said.

Copyright 2003 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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