China’s young in crisis of declining fitness

BEIJING (AP) — Despite its formidable performance in recent Olympic Games, China has found itself in a crisis of declining fitness among its youngsters.

The government has urged schools to beef up their physical education following a recent outcry touched off when two college students collapsed and died during mandatory annual running exams.

Obesity rates among Chinese students have been climbing. Experts attribute deteriorating fitness scores to the cruelly competitive environment for college admissions, as well as a proliferation of indoor entertainment like video games and online activities.

Sun Yunxiao, deputy director of China Youth and Children Research Center in Beijing, says the fitness crisis is worrying the nation. He says: “Our economic power has grown while our people’s physiques have not only failed to improve, but have deteriorated. That’s unacceptable.”