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City of Couch Potatoes
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Only one-eighth of adults and a quarter of children spend their leisure time on sports, a survey by Shanghai Women's Federation has revealed, highlighting the lack of physical exercise among local families.

More than half of them choose to watch TV, play games and surf the Internet rather than exercise, the survey showed.

Among the adults, more than half have less than half an hour to exercise every day, with the burden of work and housework.

Although 86 percent of children have at least one hour of exercise a day, it's mostly in school and after they come home, they have to do a lot of homework, the survey found.

"I seldom do any kind of exercise," said an office lady surnamed Hu. "I get off work at 6 PM and arrive home at 7 PM. After I finish supper and bathing, I feel too tired to do anything."

As a result, few local family spend much money on sports either. About five percent of surveyed families didn't spend a penny on sports in a year, while nearly 58 percent families spent less than 1,000 yuan (US$131.6) on sports annually. Free exercise places like parks, schools and home were their first choice for fitness.

Altogether 1,084 families with children were surveyed. Most families who exercised did so in the early morning or at night. The most popular sport was ball games, with 31 percent taking part, followed by jogging and swimming.

The survey showed people's awareness of the importance of exercise was quite low. The federation urged more sports campaigns and more free exercise centers to be launched.

(Shanghai Daily September 10, 2007)

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