Indian kids now spend less time than adults playing sports, a survey released on Monday showed. At 125 minutes per week, the kids in the country's eastern region spend the most time playing sports and fitness activities. At the same time, those from the western region spend the lowest at 68 minutes.
According to the "PUMA-Nielsen sports survey" conducted by sports brand PUMA India and analytics firm Nielsen Sports, Indian kids spend a mere 86 minutes per week on sports and fitness-related activities against the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended 420 minutes or more. Indian adults invest 101 minutes in these activities per week.
The survey was conducted across 16 cities, with 4,280 respondents aged from 6 to 65 years of age. Those between the ages of 6 and 18 were categorised as "kids". The rest were categorised as "adults".
Talking to Business Standard, Abhishek Ganguly, managing director of PUMA India and Southeast Asia, said, "The top two reasons for the low participation of kids are lack of time and need to focus on studies."
Fifty-three per cent of kids stated that "lack of time" was the main reason for their low participation in fitness activities. It was followed by 46 per cent by those who believe they need to "focus on studies".
"People today believe that sports are a digression from academics and if kids need to focus on academics, they must give up sports. But this is not true," he added. "There is a direct correlation between sports participation in kids and improved academic performance and positive emotional well-being."
"While there have been multiple initiatives to boost fitness-related activities, our study indicates that more needs to be done in this space. The study highlights that an increase in sports and fitness activities can help enhance overall emotional well-being amongst adults, help learn valuable life skills and increase academic grades of kids," said Denise Menasan, managing director for Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) at Nielsen Sports and Entertainment.
The situation is not limited to kids alone. The survey highlighted that only 20 per cent of adults in urban India meet the WHO-recommended index of a minimum of 150-300 minutes of physical exercise per week.
The top reason for adults, too, was the "lack of time".
Ganguly said that the main reason was the rising screen time among adults. Another reason was the lower priority given to sports.
"People are spending far more time on screen than in the real world," he said. "Spreading awareness around sports and fitness activities will encourage people to put it on the top of the list."
The survey added that most Indians prefer Yoga (37 per cent), followed by jogging (29 per cent) and running (28 per cent). Also, more than half of adults prefer self-guided workout routines after the pandemic.