Russian schoolchildren suffer from undernourishment and freezing temperatures
Specialists of the Russian Consumers' Union conducted a survey of the Russian schools and found out that 221 schools in Russia had been committing gross violations of the law in the period from 2004 to 2005.
The results of the state sanitary and epidemic inspection in the national children's educational institutions indicate that Russian schoolchildren suffer from undernourishment, freezing temperatures and excessive pressures. As a result, the majority of children develop hypodynamia (diminished strength) and a number of other dangerous diseases.
The survey shows that about 75% of Russian schoolchildren suffer from hypodynamia. The condition not only results in the weakening of heart and body muscles, it also brings about other health problems. Half of the schoolchildren are reported to experience a pronounced exhaustion by the end of day and week. Besides, children are affected by changes of blood pressure, normally of a hypertension type. About 80% of children have neurotic reactions.
Despite a relatively smooth transition to a 5-day school week, the majority of educational institutions still use a 6-day working plans. As a result, children have to attend up to 6 academic hours in the elementary school and up to 8 hours in the high school. Subsequently, a school day in the elementary school plus homework requires 10 hours and a school day in the high school requires from 12 to 15 hours.
First and foremost, increased pressure takes a heavy toll of children's health. A shorter amount of sleep and reduced moving activities compensate for the lack of time.
Specialists of the Russian Consumers' Union also severely criticized the way school canteens make up the menu. “The cooks do not take into account the physiological needs of a child in nutritional substances and energy. The requirements for meat, fish, dairy products, vegetables and fruit are not met. The replenishment of calories is effected by means of macaronis, semolina and confectioneries,” say the experts. As a result, children do not consume enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins.
The main problems of the school catering include a lack of financing, a weak physical infrastructure, and violations of sanitary regulations by managerial and catering staff.
The survey of the Russian Consumers' Union also indicate that air-heating regulations are not met in many schools. Those violations lead to an increase in disease rate. For example, 77 schools in the Altai region were found to have a lowered air temperature in the classrooms. Still, fuel shipments to a number of educational institutions are disrupted on a regular basis while half of the elementary and high schools in rural areas has no central heating, running water and sanitation.