One out of three men and one out of eight boys in Chinese urban areas are overweight, according to a just-released survey on Chinese physical health.
The survey, co-sponsored by ten organizations including the State General Administration of Sport, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health and the second to be conducted nationwide, was carried out among 245,035 Chinese people aged three to 69 in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities.
The obesity rate and overweight rate of Chinese male adults are respectively 9.3 percent and 33.2 percent, up 1.7 percent and 1.3 percent respectively compared with 2000, the survey found.
The obesity rate tends to rise with age and those aged 40 to 44 have the highest rate of 11.7 percent, according to the survey.
The overweight rate among Chinese urban teenagers is 13.25 percent for boys and 8.72 percent for girls.
Apart from obesity, Chinese students face other physical problems like short-sightedness and high blood pressure, and their stamina, speed, vital capacity and strength are decreasing, the survey said.
Yang Guiren, director of the Sports, Health and Arts Department of the Ministry of Education, attributed the deterioration to modern lifestyles, where urban dwellers prefer taking a lift to walking up the stairs, travel by car and do little physical labor.
However, the exam-oriented education system, in which students study for long hours and do little exercise, was also to blame.
Some experts believe poor public awareness of the need for physical exercise and the dangers of obesity are obstacles to improving youngsters' health.
Statistics show that 20.9 percent of parents are not in favour of physical exercise for their children and 66 percent of students exercise for less than an hour everyday.
However, according to the survey, the general physical condition of Chinese people has slightly improved compared with five years ago.
It also shows that the physical condition of people in developed areas is generally better than those in poor regions.
China has been carrying out health surveys every five years since the middle of the 1990s.