The Hidden Triggers of Childhood Obesity: Not enough PLAY & PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Published on : 8 January 2018

A few months ago a well known Mommy Blogger and her family moved from New Delhi to Noida, UP. They left for all the usual reasons people leave Delhi: The high cost of housing and high costs of quality education amongst Delhi’s various premier private schools chief among them. Traffic was also a factor. Since their two daughters didn’t attend their neighborhood schools, her husband or she would drive them each way—two 45-minute round-trips every day, added to each of our hour-plus commutes to work.

Now in Noida, instead of sitting on their behinds an extra hour each day just to get to and from school, their kids ride their bikes, a 6-kilometer round trip. Noida is famous for two things, and they are related: Its large number of parks and open spaces that children enjoy in and around the huge number of building complexes that have mushroomed all over this rapidly growing city and the physical fitness of its population, which boasts an obesity rate one-third that of the New Delhi as a whole.

As kids pedal along everywhere in parks and around the manifold apart complexes, other children appear on their route. The bike racks at each of the schools are completely packed. Biking to school also prepares kids for learning - expending some of that youthful energy helps them sit still and receive instruction or work in collaboration with other pupils.

Delhi’s corpulence is multifactorial; American junk food outlets at every possible nook and corner or the the amount of fresh produce available in markets that parents can use to whip up delicious home cooked nutritious meals are unlikely by themselves to make much of a difference in bringing down a kids’ weight. It’s also cross-generational: Experiences and exposures in the earliest stages of development, including in utero, can predispose fetuses and children to obesity later in life. Which means that to do something about New Delhi’s obesity epidemic—and the troubling trend of increasing obesity in parts of the developing world—we need to start now, and to look everywhere we can for solutions.

Schools can resist temptations to cancel recess and physical education in favor of more test-prep. Government can heavily tax automobile purchases and fuel to discourage driving. Municipal leaders and private-sector property developers can design cities and neighborhoods to nudge children toward exercise with the development of parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, and bike paths, as Noida has done. 

To do something about India’s obesity epidemic amongst the affluent classes—and the troubling trend of increasing obesity in parts of the developing world—we need to start now, and to look everywhere we can for solutions.

Layered over all the cues society gives us to disengage from exercise — entertainment, video games, and smartphones probably chief among them — these designs become all the more critical for growing children into the next generation of productive, healthy citizens.

New Delhi is of course the prime example of a city oriented around cars, and today it’s suffering the results: Its children experience the worst air pollution in India. The asthma diagnosed in 59 percent of the city’s children (the rate is slightly higher for younger children and almost triple for children who live in the more affluent areas of South Delhi) is both a function of obesity, as the condition causes inflammation in the body, and a cause, as more than 40 percent of children with asthma in South Delhi had to limit their physical activity due to limitations on both time, space and intention. Even more—52 percent—missed at least one day of school as a result of their asthma.

As widespread as obesity has become, it presents many opportunities to address the crisis. If parents do not unite to tackle the government on raising measures to tackle the growing pollution and increasingly lesser and lesser wide open spaces like parks etc. for children to PLAY in, the chances of having a fulfilling childhood in New Delhi grow more and more bleak every day.

This is where indoor play spaces become important. Spread over a whopping 14,000 sq ft area, the play facility at PLAYBOX has dedicated areas for 2-4 and 4-9 year olds, a Boutique Family Friendly Café and a fun Performance Studio too.

PLAYBOX, a unique kids play facility in Delhi-NCR covering an area of 14,000 sq. ft has been operating successfully at Gardens Galleria Mall, Noida ever since June 2017.  

Built like an infinite maze with dedicated play areas for specific age groups, the space is interactive and children play by themselves in a secure, clean and safe environment under the watchful supervision of the staff.  Age groups have been intentionally segregated to achieve separate play spaces via MY BURROW for the 2-4 age group and MY MAZE, for the 5-9 age group. This segregation is necessary for the safety of the toddlers as well as kids.

In both spaces, toddlers and kids can bounce around on trampolines, try out speed slides, spiral slides, roller slides, glide on a Tarzan log, indulge in foam ball battles and shoot outs, crawl through tunnels and cross rope bridges, etc. The toddler play space for the 2-4 age group is a completely foam padded environment with lots of play panels, rotating climb frame, swings, play kitchen for girls and play garage for boys, etc.

Parents can also join their toddlers in this space or chose to indulge in some “ME-TIME” at SNACKBOX the Boutique kids and Parents Café, which boasts of sumptuous healthy treats for toddlers, kids as well as parents. PLAYBOX also houses two dedicated party rooms that can house 40 Kids & Adults in each or a combined capacity of 80.

Based on the philosophy of community engagement and parent-child bonding, PLAYBOX has been built with painstaking attention to detail that engages toddlers, kids and parents alike. The facility aims to foster and promote social and peer interaction, co-operative play, cognitive development, creativity and imagination through its play activities.


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