Ramadoss keen on introducing yoga in schools

February 25th, 2008 - 10:32 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Anbumani Ramadoss

New Delhi, Feb 25 (IANS) Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss wants children to learn yoga and is keen to make it compulsory in schools. Speaking at a National Yoga Week here Monday, the health minister said he would meet Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh to request him to make yoga compulsory in schools.

“I will personally meet the minister and discuss the issue of making yoga mandatory in schools across the country,” Ramadoss said at the meet organised by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga here.

Ramadoss, known for his strong views against tobacco use and alcohol, said he would take up the issue of making health a subject in schools so that children are made aware of health conditions like diabetes and hypertension and their prevention.

Ramadoss is also keen to introduce a national school health programme under which children will be screened for sight and hearing defects, dental problems, anaemia, malnutrition and cardiovascular health.

Admitting that the matter of making yoga compulsory for students has been pending with the HRD ministry for a long time, he said he would meet Arjun Singh next week.

To promote yoga, the minister said it would be introduced in 24 major Central Government Health Schemes (CGHS) centres in Delhi so that government servants who avail free health services would be screened and also taught yoga.

“There are 3.6 million beneficiaries of this scheme and one million families are registered with the central government. In 24 Delhi centres, yoga classes will be held in the morning. People will also be screened for early diagnosis of diseases,” he said.

Appreciating the work done by yoga guru Ramdev in propagating the ancient science, Ramadoss described it as a “good trend” and a “cost-effective” way to lead a healthy life.

In a lighter vein he said, “Yoga is our system. Our forefathers founded it. Then it was exported to Western countries and now it has been imported back to India.”

Ramadoss said it has been scientifically validated that yoga helps reduce hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, stress and mental disorders.

The health ministry had earmarked Rs.8 billion for alternative medicines under the Five Year Plan, and asked for allocation of Rs.50 billion under the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), he said.

He said the IT sector should imbibe the concept of yoga as many youngsters straight out of college join these set-ups and end up facing many health problems.

“If the IT sector doesn’t pull up its socks, there will be health-related problems (faced by its employees),” the minister said.

“By the age of 35, the employees are burned out. I have known of a 24-year-old man who died in front of his computer of a heart attack. This is unheard of,” he added.

Citing alcohol as the biggest problem rather than tobacco, Ramadoss quoted a study which found that people as young as 19 were consuming liquor, and said that youngsters as young as 15 would soon start taking to it if preventive steps are not taken.

He said he has written to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to put a ban on the sudden surge in surrogate advertisements on tobacco and alcohol.

“These ads are very blatant. They should be stopped. WHO has said alcohol is a bigger problem than tobacco. We are hopeful the (I&B) ministry will take cognisance of this fact,” he said.

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