In India, around 35% of school going children suffers from poor lung health with pollution being one of the major factors in determining lung health in children, a survey revealed on Monday.
The nationwide survey, based on a preliminary lung health screening test (LHST), was carried out on 2,000 children aged nine to 15 years as part of the 'Breathe Blue 2015' campaign.
Conducted by the HEAL Foundation in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru in the last three months, it was aimed at mapping the effects of air pollution on breathing capacity of young children.
"Nearly 35% school-going children in India suffer from poor lung health confirming the worst fears due to rising air pollution and deteriorating air quality," Manjari Chandra, representative of the foundation, said here while presenting the findings.
She said children in the national capital are the worst affected with a total of 40% in the "poor" and "bad" zone in the test. Bengaluru children came next at 36%, while Kolkata ranked third at 35% and Mumbai lowest at 27%.
Parthasarthi Bhattacharya, director of the Institute of Pulmocare and Research, said preliminary results point to the bad situation in India for children's lung health. Citing reports, he said lung capacity of Indians is 30% lower than that of Westerners.
According to Anirban Maitra, a consultant pediatric pulmonologist, kids suffer more from lung disease in polluted areas.
"Air quality and pollution are not the only factors contributing to lung diseases in children. We need more data to figure out how much is the damage due to pollution," he said.