The promotion of sport activities has increasingly improved the national physique and level of health. People are living longer than ever and the old adage "it is rare for a person to live to the age of seventy" is now obsolete, since reaching that age is now commonplace. The present average life expectancy of China's population is 71.95 years, approaching the level of moderately developed countries.
In order to monitor the national physique, the government has carried out large-scale studies on the physique of students since 1979, and of adults since 1993, obtaining a wealth of detailed information. The latest survey of the national physique, which ended in 2001, took three years and covered 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government, making it China's largest ever in terms of scale and population numbers. The survey showed a great improvement in the growth of children and teenagers in China's rural areas, every index showing an average rate of increase surpassing that of their peer groups in cities. But the survey also revealed some grounds for concern. Chinese people's physical faculties show a clear drop after they turn 40. In cities, obesity poses a big threat to the health of children and teenagers, and overweight is also very common among adults. The health of women in rural areas is far from satisfactory. Based on the survey findings, government departments continuously study methods of keeping fit, set new ways and standards for different age groups and strengthen coaching at community level. The second survey of the national physique was completed in 2005 and the report will be released in 2006.