Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

China faces youth fitness crisis

China faces youth fitness crisis
January 23, 2013

Despite its increasingly formidable performance in many Olympic sports, China is experiencing a serious decline in fitness and physical activity among its young people.

With parents placing an emphasis on academic success, the economic superpower has seen the fitness of its young people decline.

Sun Yunxiao, Deputy Director of China Youth and Children Research Center in Beijing explains "our economic power has grown while our people's physiques have not only failed to improve, but have deteriorated. That's unacceptable.

"This is something that worries the nation."

The Government has urged schools, especially K-12, to improve their physical education following an outcry casued by a series of events late last year.

Two Chinese college students collapsed and died when they were testing for an annual, mandatory 1,000-metre run in late November. Another two runners in their early 20s died in 5,000-metre and 10,000-metre races during a sporting event in the southern city of Guangzhou. The sudden deaths were considered accidental, but the spate of them was enough to trigger a nationwide retrospection on its physical education.

Several Chinese universities canceled their men's 5,000-metre and women's 3,000-metre events from their end of year sport meets, for reasons including fear of liability, lack of interest and scheduling conflicts.

Sun says "this is a dangerous sign.

"Physical education is important in that it helps youth to develop social skills and to build a healthy character. But we are at a historic low in our neglect."

Sun attributes the decline to an obsession with academic testing scores in China's highly competitive environment for further education admissions, as well as a proliferation of indoor entertainment options like video games and surfing the Internet.

Though air quality in many Chinese cities has deteriorated in recent years, physical educators have discounted air pollution as a major deterrent for outdoor activities.

Sun said an overwhelming majority of Chinese young students cited their academic performance as their parents' top priority, with a chunk of the population saying it was the only thing that mattered to parents.

The results are clear from the annual fitness tests that Chinese university students are required to take. Education Ministry data show that in 2010, male college students ran 1,000 metres 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 metres.

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% of urban male students were obese, compared to 8.7% a decade earlier. Still, that compares with rates in the United States of 19.6% for males aged 12-19, and 33.2% for males aged 20-39 for the same period.

The dismal state of fitness in the younger generation prompted a well-known and hawkish military officer, Major General Luo Yuan, to bemoan the prospects for China's future in a recent editorial in the state-run Global Times newspaper.

General Yuan thundred "femininity is on the rise, and masculinity is on the decline.

"With such a lack of character and determination and such physical weakness, how can they shoulder the heavy responsibility?"

Wang Fangchuan, a sports professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, sees the disregard of health as the "mark of a society in pursuit of academic achievements."

The national goal of earning Olympic gold medals separates sports from ordinary schools, because promising young athletes and resources are siphoned off to special sports schools nationwide.

Popular blogger Li Chengpeng wrote last summer, when China's Olympic athletes in London won 38 gold medals, second only to the United States "we have this strange phenomenon. Outside, we are showing off muscles, but at home we are panting.

"Outside, the red flags are flying. At home, the red lights are going up."

17th October 2012 - IHRSA TO PRESENT CHINAFIT, CHINA MANAGEMENT FORUM IN SHANGHAI

7th October 2011 - IHRSA REVEALS ASIAN AND AUSTRALASIAN FITNESS CLUB PERFORMANCE

2nd September 2011 - GLOBAL GOVERNMENTS MUST ‘GET TOUGH ON OBESITY’

13th September 2010 - CHINA MARKS OLYMPIC ANNIVERSARY WITH NATIONAL FITNESS DAY ‚Äč

16th October 2009 - CALYPSO INNOVATES IN YOUTH FITNESS 

24th October 2008 - NEW CHAIR AND REGISTRAR FOR NZ REGISTRATION BODY


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Digonex

Digonex is a leading provider of customised dynamic pricing solutions to clients in arts and entertainment, sport, attractions, cultural institutions and retail sectors. Digonex’s technology is…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing

 
 

DEBITSUCCESS

Over the past 10 years Debitsuccess has been providing expert billing services to businesses across Australia. Debitsuccess is now the largest full service direct debit provider in Australasia,…

read more

Billing / Finance / Fitness / Golf / Recreation

 
 

Worldwide Sports Management

Principal Consultant Simon Weatherill has spent the last 20 years developing the world renowned Melbourne Sports Hub, as former Chief Executive Officer of the State Sports Centres Trust…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues

 
 

GOPLAY COMMERCIAL PLAYGROUNDS

Goplay designs and manufactures specialised playground equipment for indoor play centres, hotels, food chains, clubs and resorts. If our years of experience and dedication have taught us one thing,…

read more

Play

 
 

Jonas Leisure

JonasLeisure offers a complete range of leading leisure and recreation software brands – envibe, Centaman, Gladstone Health & Leisure, The Retention People, Nutrition Complete and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Fitness / Recreation / Sport

 
 

AIS Water

AIS Water, the trading name of Australian Innovative Systems, is a multi-award winning, Australian owned leader in the design, production and supply of commercial and residential chlorine generators…

read more

Aquatics / Safety / Technology

 
 

PULSETEC SOLUTIONS

PulseTec Solutions is a leading provider of software systems and solutions to the health and fitness industry for more than a decade. Our key products and services include ClientConnect studio and…

read more

Access / Fitness / Marketing / Technology / Venues

 
 

Smart Connection Consultancy

Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business