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Schools stretch exercise time to aid student fitness

[ 2011-05-19 10:50]     字号 [] [] []  
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Schools in Beijing are extending afternoon exercise times by 15 minutes to help students stave off childhood obesity.

The recreational recess, which comes between the second and third periods, has been stretched to 35 minutes at elementary and middle schools across Changping and Haidian districts as part of a pilot health project.

"By increasing the time allocated for exercise, we aim to improve student fitness and guarantee a minimum of one-hour in-school exercise for each student every day," said Zhao Guowei, a spokesman for the city's education commission.

Child obesity is a growing danger across China, with the average waistline of Beijing's 14 million primary and middle schools students expanding at an alarming rate. As of last year, 20.7 percent of primary school pupils and 19.8 percent of middle school students were overweight, according to official statistics.

"Many students often pay more attention to studies than their fitness," said Liu Jianpeng, who works for Changping's education commission. "Parents are also only concerned with their child's physical examination grade, rather than their real development."

He said that more than 70 percent of schools in his district have extended exercise times, while more teenagers are being encouraged to take part in gymnastics and other sports activities.

Fan Hailong, a physical education teacher at Baishan Middle School in Changping, said the most important task is to pique youngsters' interests.

"We've developed many interesting activities during the extended break - skipping, roller-skating and aerobics, for example," he said. "Teachers should find suitable exercises for overweight students and those who are frail, such as jogging maybe or using a hula hoop, as excessive exercise could hurt these children and affect their studies."

Although students in Changping and Haidian are feeling the benefit of extra workout time, those in central areas must make do with the standard daily gymnastics classes, which last 20 minutes.


1. How much exercise time will students get in Beijing?

2. Which schools will be part of a pilot health project?

3. What is the goal?


1. Schools in Beijing are extending afternoon exercise times by 15 minutes, to 35 minutes.

2. Elementary and middle schools across Changping and Haidian districts.

3. To help students avoid childhood obesity.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Schools stretch exercise time to aid student fitness

About the broadcaster:

Schools stretch exercise time to aid student fitness

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.