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Students Get D- for Poor Health

Students in China maybe sick of endless exams but it is the state of their general health that worries doctors.


Latest figures show three out of four Beijing students due to take the national college entrance exam next week have sight problems - while only 9 percent of Guangzhou students were given a sweeping clean bill of health after pre-exam physical checkups.

And all over the nation, students are growing fat, doctors say.


Not only will excessive weight lead to health complications in later life if allowed to go unchecked, but some students may find their college applications will suffer.


Now some parents and school officials are more concerned about the health of the students than the results from their important exams which take place next week.


Health reports released by officials show of Beijing's 113,205 examinees, 74.32 percent have eyesight problems - higher than the national average level.


And the eyesights of students in key schools are worse than those of students in other schools, the results revealed.


In Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province in south China, a sample survey showed that only 8.96 percent passed a check-up with a 100 percent.


In Dalian, Liaoning Province of northeast China, 10 percent of 33,000-plus candidates qualified in all check-up areas. But statistics from the municipal check-up centre showed that 80 percent of students have near-sightedness of varying degrees.


But if there's an alarming problem among youngsters, it's obesity. The number of examinees weighing more than 100 kilograms is way up compared with last year.


Almost one-fifth of the Dalian candidates suffer from high blood pressure, a problem directly connected to obesity. Furthermore, the extra weight increases the risk of other health complications, said the Dalian centre director, who gave only her surname, Miao.


"Such physical problems would limit them to apply for certain majors in college," she said. One boy in the third grade at Senior High School No 23, whose surname is Liu said: "I have to give up my plan to apply for a military academy due to my near-sightedness." A boy at Senior High No 1, surnamed Ji, who is 175 cm tall and weighs 115 kilograms, said: "Sometimes, classmates make jokes about me, but I don't care much about it."


But he also said he has trouble doing exercises and admitted he's worried other health problems.


Liu Ying, director of check-up centre under the Second Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, said the main reason for obesity is bad nutrition, but the lack of exercise also makes students put on weight.


(China Daily June 2, 2005)

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