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China on Wednesday issued the country’s first guideline on physical activities for citizens of all ages and especially those with chronic diseases, in a bid to improve the health of the entire population, which is facing a serious problem of ageing, short-sightedness and obesity.
Chen Junshi, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said at Wednesday’s press conference that “physical activity” refers to activities in which skeletal muscle contractions cause energy expenditure. The concept of physical activity is not limited to certain activities but includes all types and various intensities, that is, all kinds of activities that people do for different purposes throughout a day are all under the categories of physical activities.
The guideline, Physical Activity Guidelines for Chinese People (2021), provides detailed guidance on the types and time of exercises for different groups of people, encouraging them to do it safely and efficiently. For children and adolescents, in addition to physical activity and outdoor activity, there are extra rules on screen time for their eyesight protection from being shortsighted.
For adults, adequate aerobic exercises with moderate and high intensity are recommended, and the most important thing is to ensure adequate activity throughout the day. While seniors are advised to take extra exercises that improve balance and flexibility, in addition to the physical activity recommended to adults. It would be better for seniors to keep exercising as much as they can even if their health conditions are somehow limited.
The guideline plays a vital role in improving people’s awareness of taking physical activity and enhancing their ability to carry out exercises more scientifically and efficiently.
It also serves as technical support to promote and implement the prevention and control of chronic disease, as the ultimate goal is to enable the masses to enjoy a better life through physical activities, and thus contribute to building a more vibrant society.
China is facing a growing ageing problem. The population of people over 60 years old in China is projected to reach 28 percent by 2040, due to longer life expectancy and declining fertility rates. Meanwhile, around 52.7 percent of children and adolescents in China were found to be suffering from short sightedness in a survey targeting 2.48 million students from 8,604 schools in 2020, according to data released by the National Health Commission in July.
In December 2020, China’s State Council said that more than 50 percent of Chinese adults are overweight. The overweight and obesity rates among urban and rural residents of all ages continue to rise. Nearly 20 percent of children between 6 and 17 years old and 10 percent of children under 6 years old are obese. This means that people, particularly children, should be encouraged to have well-balanced diets and exercise regularly.