Nu­tri­tion among stu­dents im­prov­ing

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHOU WENTING and SHAN JUAN in Shang­hai

Mal­nu­tri­tion rates among Chi­nese stu­dents con­tinue to fall as the coun­try’s school health pro­mo­tion ini­tia­tive takes ef­fect, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior ed­u­ca­tion of­fi­cial.

“The per­cent­age of Chi­nese stu­dents who are phys­i­cally healthy has reached more than 95 per­cent,” Hao Ping, vice-min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion, said dur­ing the Ninth Global Con­fer­ence on Health Pro­mo­tion.

Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion sta­tis­tics show that the av­er­age height of boys and girls aged be­tween 6 and 15 rose by 0.4 cen­time­ters and 0.6 cm re­spec­tively in 2014, com­pared with 2012, while their av­er­age weight in­creased by 0.3 kilo­grams.

The per­cent­age of stu­dents who­fail to eat three meals per day dropped from 10.4 per­cent in 2012 to 7.1 per­cent in 2014, while the per­cent­age of boys and girls with ane­mia in West China de­creased by 3.3 per­cent and 3.9 per­cent re­spec­tively.

Hao said the govern­ment sees school health pro­mo­tion as a pri­or­ity and ad­heres to the idea of “health for each stu­dent”. There­fore, to en­sure the health rights of chil­dren in less de­vel­oped re­gions, the min­istry, in 2011, launched a nu­tri­tion im­prove­ment ini­tia­tive for ru­ral stu­dents of com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion years.

Since 2011, more than 159 bil­lion yuan ($23 bil­lion) has been in­vested in the project, cov­er­ing more than 33 mil­lion stu­dents, Hao said.

The min­istry also re­quires all stu­dents from pri­mary schools to col­leges to par­tic­i­pate in phys­i­cal ex­er­cise for at least an hour ev­ery day by mak­ing ex­er­cise dur­ing class breaks part of the school syl­labus. Hao Ping,

“More than 14,000 schools that pro­mote play­ing soccer have been es­tab­lished in the coun­try. These are aimed at inspiring stu­dents to par­tic­i­pate more in phys­i­cal ex­er­cise and be­come health­ier,” Hao said.

How­ever, health ex­perts said that there are still ar­eas that need ad­dress­ing, such as in­ad­e­quate sleep, obe­sity and short­sight­ed­ness.

Among stu­dents aged 7 to 12 in ur­ban ar­eas, 18 per­cent of boys and nearly 10 per­cent of girls are obese, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey jointly con­ducted by the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport of China and the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, which was re­leased in Novem­ber last year.

Last year’s sur­veyal­so­found that more than 30 per­cent of 7-year-olds have­my­opia.

China has made sig­nif­i­cant progress in pro­mot­ing fit­ness pro­grams among the public in the past few years. By the end of 2014, more than 33.9 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion said they ex­er­cise fre­quently, an in­crease of 5.7 per­cent­age points from 2007, said Yang Shu’an, deputy head of the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Sport of China.

The coun­try has re­leased its lat­est Na­tional Fit­ness Plan (2016-20), hop­ing to pro­mote over­all health de­vel­op­ment, Yang said.

The per­cent­age of Chi­nese stu­dents who are phys­i­cally healthy has reached more than 95 per­cent.” ed­u­ca­tion vice-min­is­ter of

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