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China Renews Call to Tackle Young People's Health Problems

China has renewed call to step up efforts in tackling the young people's health problems including short sight and obesity on Tuesday.

Both education and school authorities should ramp up efforts to help students develop a healthy way of life, said Education Minister Zhou Ji, adding special efforts should be made on the prevention of short sight.

Health Minister Chen Zhu urged health authorities at all levels to beef up measures to help monitor and provide scientific nutrition formula for the young people.

Both ministers made their remarks when attending a national teleconference on schools' health work held on Tuesday.

Short sight and obesity are the most common health problems for the Chinese young people.

A survey conducted in 2006 shows that more than three quarters of senior high students in the country are short sighted and the figure for college students hit 83 percent.

China's Ministry of Education issued a revised scheme on short sight prevention for elementary and middle school students early this month. The scheme, which set strict requirements for homework amount, sleeping hours and seats arrangement, aimed to encourage students to do more exercise and have less academic burden.

According to the most recent data from the Ministry of Education, 8 percent of urban Chinese children between the ages of 10 and 12 are obese, while another 15 percent are overweight.

Comfortable lifestyles and changes to the traditional diet are among the leading causes attributing to the weight problem in the country, which once was commonly thought to have one of the world's leanest population.

(Xinhua News Agency September 17, 2008)

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