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Despite obesity, Chinese turn out to be healthier

(China Daily)

10:55, September 03, 2011

BEIJING - Even as more and more of the Chinese population is becoming overweight and elderly, residents' health has improved steadily since 2005, according to a recent report.

After studying the health of 231,925 adults for 19 months, the State General Administration of Sport announced the results of its third national physical condition survey on Friday.

According to the survey, nearly 33 percent of Chinese adults between the ages of 20 and 59 are overweight, a figure that has increased by 3 percent since 2005. And 40 percent of adults between the ages of 60 and 69 are obese, a figure that is up 4.2 percent from the same year.

Meanwhile, a decline has been seen in the results from tests given to gauge a person's ability to grip something or jump, indicating losses of strength.

Although some participants in the survey said they were worried by their obesity, the report said the Chinese have become more healthy in the past five years, as indicated by their body shapes, organ functions and ability to perform aerobic exercises.

The number of people who meet national fitness criteria has increased by 1.7 percent since 2005, according to an analysis of data culled from China's 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the mainland. The survey stopped short, though, of specifying what exact percentage of the population met those criteria both this year and in 2005.

"We are very happy to see there are more and more physically fit people in our country," Tian Ye, director of the national fitness monitoring center, said at a news conference about the report.

"But we should also pay close attention to those, especially the elderly, who are still unfit or overweight. The fact that only a few figures have declined means our national fitness campaign still needs to be promoted on a larger scale."

China's national campaign to encourage physical fitness gained an impetus from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, said Sheng Zhiguo, chief of the State General Administration of Sport's mass sports department.

"The report proved that things are going well under our current plan, and it will help us to find potential troubles," Sheng said. "We will stick to the program and provide more advanced exercise guidance and services in the future."

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