China’s youth obesity rate worsens

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock
Youth obesity continues to rise in China, according to a national fitness survey that blames the trend on lack of exercise. 

The report, which was co-compiled by the General Administration of Sport of China and the Ministry of Education, surveyed information from roughly 350,000 students aged 7-22 across 31 parts of the country.

The youth obesity rate has been on the rise since 2005 despite a series of measures to attract young people to participate in sport, the report said. Based on 2014 figures, it found that 18% of boys and 10% of girls were obese.

Speaking to China Daily, Peking University’s Ma Jun said ignorance of physical education was largely behind the surge in obesity, rather than unhealthy diets. 

Apart from the influence of improved nutrition and living standards, children are becoming fatter mainly because of a lack of exercise​,” said Ma, who is director of the university’s Institute of Child and Adolescent Health.

Although one hour of exercise for each student could be guaranteed in schools, heavy after-school tutoring still takes up the majority of their spare time​.” 

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