China in action to guard students from myopia, obesity, spinal curvature

(Xinhua) 09:41, May 16, 2024

BEIJING, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Stand straight, bend slowly and reach down... At Pingshan No. 1 Primary School in Huidong County, south China's Guangdong Province, medics from a local health center instructed students to perform a series of movements to check the health of their spines.

These assessments are part of nationwide efforts aimed at addressing the health concerns among students in China, including issues such as myopia, obesity and spinal curvature.

According to official data, the overall myopia rate for Chinese children and adolescents in 2022 was 51.9 percent, and 19 percent of the country's students aged 6 to 17 were overweight and obese by 2020. Furthermore, 2.8 percent of primary and middle school students were found to have abnormal spinal curvature in 2019.

These figures have sounded the alarm, prompting authorities to identify their causes and devise intervention schemes that require coordinated efforts from the government, schools and families.

The latest initiative saw the national health authority release a guideline that aims to prevent various health problems through a single set of strategies.

According to the multi-pronged approach, a student should dedicate a minimum of one hour to both indoor and outdoor daytime activities, and screen time for recreational purposes should be limited to less than one hour per day. A break of 10 minutes is needed after every hour of prolonged sitting, meal times should be relatively fixed, and it is advised to go to bed and rise early. Additionally, one hour of parent-child communication is needed each day.

The multi-pronged approach underscores a collective impact of these measures on preventing various diseases or health conditions, said Tao Fangbiao, a professor of Anhui Medical University.

Over the past years, China's initiatives to promote students' health also include projects to promote balanced diet and scientific exercises among children and adolescents, as well as an over 90 percent coverage rate of eye health and vision checks for children aged 0 to 6.

Thanks to these efforts, the overall myopia rate among children and adolescents in China saw a decrease of 0.7 percentage points in 2022, compared to 52.6 percent in 2021.

Song Yi, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, underscored the crucial role of collaboration among the government, institutions, schools, families and communities in building a robust defense against health problems for students.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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