Nearly 1 million local primary and middle school students in Shanghai took part in a nationwide student health program yesterday morning that aims to reverse declining standards in student fitness.
Starting this semester students are required to take physical exercise for at least one hour every day.
Yesterday, students in the city's 18 districts and Chongming County were taken out of classrooms to play basketball, table tennis and traditional Chinese games including hoop running and peg-top spinning from 10 AM to 11AM.
Education officials said the one-hour sports session would be woven into school schedules from yesterday.
"We are trying to provide as many diversified sports activities as possible to improve students' deteriorating health conditions," said Huang Yuzhong, a teacher at the Primary School affiliated to Shanghai No. 1 Teacher's School in Jing'an District.
A heavy study workload and lack of exercise are considered the main cause of the deteriorating health of students. Research says nearly 20 percent are overweight.
(Shanghai Daily April 30, 2007)