Sunday Oct 2, 2022
Sunday Oct 2, 2022

The physical growth of Nepalese teenagers post-pandemic

With children compelled to spend almost their entire time in their homes these past two years, their physical growth will be different than others in the past.

2022 Feb 20, 8:08,

Being a student in these past two years has had its fair share of challenges, from a new medium of schooling, to a lack of social interaction. For most students, their lives have been limited to their rooms as most of their work can be done from there itself. Stepping outside into the open air has been far from possible, and physical activity as a whole has come to a screeching halt.

“It’s disappointing for us,” says Rabindra Rai, an 18-year-old. “We're virtually entrapped in our own rooms, with no contact to the outside world. Of course, we understand that it is not the right time to step out, but that doesn’t mean we like this new way of living. We would love it if we could go out and play or even just be able to meet our friends, but that’s not possible at this point in time.”

Teenage or adolescence is the most important phase of growth in humans physically, mentally and socially. The pandemic has definitely impacted their overall growth, and experts are pondering over the future of this current crop of students.

“No one can be certain,” Dr. Amir Neupane says cautiously, “But the fact is that humans, as a species, are meant to move. Being stationary is a hindrance to anyone at any age. The past two years are definitely going to have an impact on the physical developments of kids.”

Dr. Neupane, a physiotherapist, also explained how life has been considerably different for children these past two years, in terms of physicality. “If we look at families in urban areas, like Kathmandu, 80% of them have small houses with little to no free and open space. That automatically constricts one’s movement. Also, in the past, there were certain boundaries set: you could spend some time outside and the rest of the time inside. That’s not been the case in these two years; people’s lives have revolved around technology. For a student, their schooling and their recreation both require gadgets. So, you can understand why and how they’ve had to be so inactive.”

When asked about what the future may hold for the students, Dr. Neupane says, “There certainly will be problems for them. Like I said, no one can be certain. However, looking at the current state, it seems likely that muscular and neurological developments will be directly impacted. At an early age, they will face problems of degeneration, lack of bone and muscle fiber development.”

Dr. Neupane also talked about how this severe problem can possibly be handled. “This is an issue that everyone - from students to doctors - need to plan about. It is inevitable that there will be a lot of cases of such problems. However, even if they don’t have an open space outside their homes, people need to utilize the space in their rooms itself and simply do some movement related activities. This does not necessarily mean hardcore exercises, but just any activity that stretches muscles and lets you be mobile.”


Teenagers health Physical Health Dr Amir Neupane Physiotherapy pandemic
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