Test re­sults

Changes in life­style and re­luc­tance to give up study time are fac­tors

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By TANG YUE tangyue@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Chi­nese stu­dents’ scores fall in the lat­est Pro­gram for In­ter­na­tional Stu­dent Assess­ment.

Chi­nese youth have be­come taller, but they are also fat­ter and have worse eye­sight, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased on Wed­nes­day.

The av­er­age height of kids aged 7 to 18 in­creased from 2000 to 2014, ac­cord­ing to the An­nual Re­port on Devel­op­ment of Youth Sports in China 2016.

The av­er­age 18-year-old male stood at 1.72 me­ters in 2014, up from 1.70 m in 2000, while fe­males grew from 1.58 m to 1.59 m.

How­ever, the obe­sity rate of males aged 7 to 22 in ur­ban ar­eas in­creased 25-fold from 1985 to 2014, reach­ing nearly 15 per­cent, while males in ru­ral ar­eas in­creased 45-fold. The rate for fe­males in both ru­ral and ur­ban ar­eas in­creased 12-fold.

In ad­di­tion, more young Chi­nese have had vi­sion prob­lems since 2000, with more than 86 per­cent of col­lege stu­dents af­fected in 2014.

“That Chi­nese youth are get­ting taller is sim­ply be­cause liv­ing stan­dards have been im­prov­ing,” said Liao Wenke, a se­nior of­fi­cial with the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“Mean­while, the prob­lems of obe­sity and poor eye­sight have a lot to do with lack of ex­er­cise, which is as­so­ci­ated with the heavy study bur­den and chang­ing life­style, such as the pop­u­lar­iza­tion of elec­tronic de­vices at an early age,” Liao said.

The re­port sug­gests that Chi­nese stu­dents’ phys­i­cal abil­i­ties, in­di­cated by speed, strength and lung ca­pac­ity, among other mea­sures, fell steadily be­tween 1985 and 2005.

It has picked up slightly since the is­sue was given at­ten­tion by gov­ern­ment and the pub­lic.

“But it is still far from the level in the 1980s,” Liao said.

“Fear of us­ing up study time” was the top rea­son for stu­dents not to en­gage in sports ac­tiv­i­ties among 13 choices given, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. More than 30 per­cent of those aged 13 to 15 have such con­cerns.

Ac­cess to sports fa­cil­i­ties also re­mains a bot­tle­neck in some re­mote and less-de­vel­oped ar­eas. Na­tion­wide, sports equip­ment in 35 per­cent of pri­mary schools, 21 per­cent of mid­dle schools and 13 per­cent of high schools are not suf­fi­cient to im­ple­ment the sports ac­tiv­i­ties re­quired by the na­tion’s school sports plan.

Due to the fam­ily plan­ning pol­icy, many chil­dren are of­ten spoiled and self-cen­tered, and they also tend to be lonely. As such, youth sports ac­tiv­ity in China is more cru­cial for so­cial in­ter­ac­tion and psy­cho­log­i­cal health, the re­port said.

It also pointed out that the physique of youth in the coun­try is the foun­da­tion for its com­pet­i­tive­ness at in­ter­na­tional sports events.

At the Rio Olympic Games, China slipped to third place on the gold medal tally with 28 golds, af­ter the United States and the United King­dom, the worst per­for­mance since 2004.

GENG YUHE / FOR CHINA DAILY

Stu­dents at­tend a soc­cer train­ing ses­sion at a pri­mary school in Lianyu­gang, Jiangsu prov­ince, in Novem­ber.

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