By Beth Main
China’s schools and universities are being encouraged to focus more on the physical fitness of their students as China faces a teen obesity crisis. The new motivation comes in the wake of a series of sport related deaths last year in the Guangzhou marathon, a Shanghai university running test and a basketball match.
Its true that the Chinese are generally known for being a slim race and for kicking caucasian butt at the Olympics, but it would seem that the greater trend in contemporary China is for the nation’s bellies to grow as quickly as the economy.
Observers blame the high academic standards demanded by the Chinese education system that leave many students studying dawn til dusk and beyond. Other factors include a rise in popularity of video games, readily available fast food and the appalling air pollution in major cities.
AP News reports:
Education Ministry data show that in 2010, male college students ran 1,000 meters 14 to 15 seconds slower on average than male students who ran a decade earlier. Female students slowed by about 12 seconds in running 800 meters. Students also fared worse in other physical tests, jumping shorter distances and completing fewer sit-ups.
Meanwhile, obesity rates among Chinese college students have gone up. In 2010, 13.3 percent of urban male students were obese, compared to 8.7 percent a decade earlier.
Universities now feel compelled to work their students physically harder* to make up for lost time spent studying in high school… the students just can’t catch a break.
*Sex, how most students in the west exercise, is unfortunately prohibited at many Chinese universities.