By Zhang Zhouxiang
BEIJING, Aug. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- Thursday marks the fifth annual "National Fitness Day". The anniversary of the start of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the day reminds people to take more exercise to help them stay healthy, and many cities across the nation held activities like opening stadiums for free or organizing sport competitions.
It seems that many people need such a reminder.
On Monday, the General Administration of Sport released the results of a national survey of more than 43,000 adults aged between 20 and 69. The survey found their average body weight has increased by 1.12 kilograms compared with the average weight in 2010, and the average body weight of the group aged between 20 and 39 gained 1.92 kg, the highest among all the respondents. The same age group is also the least active, 51 percent said they did not do any regular exercise, despite a 4.5 percent increase in the total number of people doing regular exercise.
The physical fitness of young people is arousing concern.
Young people should be the most energetic and most willing to stretch their bodies through physical exercise. Many fitness clubs promote themselves with the slogan "stay young". It is hard to imagine, but nowadays many people in their 20s and 30s do less exercise than their parents.
In the United States, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 80 percent of adult Americans do not do the recommended amount of exercise every week, it was the younger generation that was more likely to move their bodies to keep fit.
So what stops young adults in China from keeping fit?
The pressures of life do. Most young adults are the breadwinners for a family of two or more generations. In 2012, zhaopin.com, a job-hunting website, surveyed more than 30,000 young white-collar adults and found that they work 8.66 hours on average everyday, with 70 percent of them having to work extra hours at home. Because of this it is difficult for them to squeeze in any time for exercise, and even if they could find the time many lack the inclination.
"After a whole day of work I don't want to speak; never mind exercise," responded one young adult in a survey conducted by the health department in Wuhan, Hubei province.
One of the side effects of the skyrocketing house prices in the big cities is that more young adults reside in suburban areas because they cannot afford inner city rents. The same survey by zhaopin.com shows that working people in Beijing, for example, spend almost three hours a day commuting to and from work.
Students are also often too busy to exercise due to curriculum overload. On May 16 this year, a 20-year-old male student at the South China University of Technology died after running 1,000 meters in a physical test and lack of exercises was said to have contributed to the tragedy. The study overload seems to be spreading to primary schools. In Beijing, the obesity rate of pupils increased to 20.74 percent in 2011, the highest in history.
Still many young people are more interested in being online rather than in a fitness center. An article in the People's Daily two months ago even described the youths as "unenergetic" and "gloomy".
The General Administration of Sport is editing the national standards on exercise so that they will cover all groups aged from 6 to 69. These will vary according to age, but they will pay special attention to the young people's fitness and will take new measures to improve their physical condition.
That is a good move, but the problem cannot be solved by the sports administration alone. We hope more sides, including government agencies and people themselves, will assume the responsibility of staying fit.
(Source: China Daily)