It is perhaps the case that most of us realise the value of fitness and a healthy lifestyle only when we are well into our adult lives. We consider following a strict regimen of healthy food, exercise and sleep to be something that is deeply desirable but, at the same time, very hard to achieve. It would then be a heartening proposition to know about a 14-year-old boy who has taken it up as his mission to spread awareness regarding these fitness goals.
Agastya Palangala, a Class IX student at the National Public School in Indiranagar, Bengaluru, is part of 1 Million for 1 Billion (1M1B)’s Future Leader programme. His project, Healthy You(th), focuses especially on health-oriented activities for children aged 13 and above. At the same time, it is not limited to just students of his age since he addresses even senior citizens who follow his social media handles. Speaking about his own healthy routine, which served as the precursor to his project, Agastya says, “I am an avid cyclist and I cycle 5 km every day. During pre-pandemic times, I also used to swim 150 laps every weekend. I also like to cook at home and help my mother in the kitchen. I was reading a lot of news articles talking about children under the age of 16 being obese and not exercising enough. This leads to the increased risk of suffering from life-threatening diseases like cancer and diabetes. So that is when and why I decided to begin the project with the help of 1M1B.”
Once the project took off, there was no looking back for Agastya. He has delivered over 700 health kits to people, a lot of them for free. Agastya has even distributed healthy food to students in government schools. He has impacted over 750 people directly via nature walks, one-on-one interactions and seven outdoor activity sessions so far. Using his social media profiles, Agastya has reached out to over 3,000 people online and his influence has spread to people in the US, UK and Singapore as well. He has received over 10,000 views on social media so far.
One way he has reached out to people is by conducting stay-at-home challenges. “I conducted a home cook challenge where I wanted people to cook food themselves at home and share it with me on social media. I would like to do more of these in the future along with webinars and sessions online to inculcate a sense of a healthy lifestyle among people. I aim to impact as many as 2,000 people directly in the near future as well as 25,000 people indirectly.”
Agastya, whose favourite subject is Mathematics, has also been selected to showcase his work at the 1M1B summit at the United Nations in New York. “1M1B has given me the opportunity to make a difference in society and change the lifestyle of people. This project has helped me gain self-confidence, make a positive difference in society and spread knowledge on leading a healthy lifestyle, which is possible because of the 1M1B Future Leaders Program,” Agastya says. He is clearly not your run-of-the-mill one-dimensional student. He is an active member of the debate club at school and also practices Hindustani vocal music. He also enjoys playing basketball and cricket. A genuine jack-of-all-trades young student who is an ace when it comes to living healthy.