Survey shows slight increase in fitness level for Chinese

Updated: 2015-12-31 07:57

By Sun Xiaochen(China Daily USA)

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 Survey shows slight increase in fitness level for Chinese

A taekwondo drill during the National Fitness Campaign in Beijing. Ni Minzhe / For China Daily

The average fitness level of Chinese has seen a slight improvement after years of decline, but experts say residents of the country still have a long way to go.

Chinese are exercising more and their overall fitness status has improved slightly over the past five years, according to a survey by the General Administration of Sport of China.

The survey, which analyzed data from 223,124 people from 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, found that Chinese have grown taller and stronger and most of their athletic abilities have increased by a small margin from the results in 2010.

According to the national fitness standard, which grades fitness levels into four standards by assessing body shape, physical function and athletic ability, 89.6 percent of Chinese reached the second "qualified" level, a 0.7-percent increase from 2010.

The survey also showed that the increase in obesity among Chinese, which had been rising since 2005, has slowed over the past four years.

According to the survey, 10.5 percent of adults aged 20 to 59 and 13.9 percent of elderly aged 60 and above were considered obese at the end of 2014, marking a slower rise of 0.6 percent and 0.9 percent from 2010. Slight improvements were seen in a wide range of athletic ability assessments including lower-limb strength of adults younger than 40, body flexibility of adults aged over 50 and increased aerobic capacity of women of all ages. Despite improvements in most age groups, the physical test results for college students in key categories including speed, lower-limb strength and stamina have continued to decline for the past five years, the survey showed.

Xing Wenhua, head of the student fitness research group with the Ministry of Education, said the lack of mandatory physical education at Chinese universities was one cause for that decline. "Without compulsory PE courses in primary and secondary schools, students tend to forget about exercise after entering college, where sports do not enjoy as much emphasis as academic excellence does in China," he said.

Jiang Chongmin, a senior researcher at the China Institute of Sport Science, said the general fitness of Chinese people, especially male adults, remains at a relatively low level despite the slight improvement in recent years.

(China Daily USA 12/31/2015 page7)