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Experts urge greater effort to promote mass sports

Sun Xiaochen
Updated: Mar 17,2018 9:44 AM     China Daily

Experts and advisers involved in sports in China have called for a greater emphasis on promoting sports participation to boost the Health China 2030 initiative.

With healthcare services highlighted at the core of China’s plan to build a healthy nation by 2030, the role of sports participation for actively maintaining public health should be valued and supported equally in achieving the goal, said members of the sports panel of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

“Keeping healthy is not just about providing people with medical care when they need it,” said Feng Jianzhong, a member of the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC and a former deputy director of the General Administration of Sport of China.

“It’s also about staying fit through exercise on a regular basis to avoid being sick in the first place. To make the nation healthier by 2030, sports should be involved much more in the plan than they are now.”

The Healthy China 2030 initiative, which was released by the central government in October 2016, set multiple goals regarding public health by 2030, such as extending average life expectancy to 79 years from 76.34 years in 2015, increasing the percentage of people reaching the national fitness standard to 92.2 percent from 89.6 in 2015, and significantly reducing the premature death rate for people with chronic diseases.

A healthy lifestyle based on regular exercise with moderate intensity helps enhance people’s cardiopulmonary function and core strength, thus reducing the risks of suffering from chronic diseases, said a sports medicine expert.

“Staying in shape and having a strong heart and lungs through aerobic exercises will lay the foundations of a healthy life,” said Xie Minhao, director of the National Institute of Sports Medicine and a CPPCC National Committee member.

Since winning 51 gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, China has been shifting its sports focus from winning medals to improving mass fitness.

General Secretary Xi Jinping, in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October, urged the country’s sports sector to extensively promote mass fitness activities and accelerate the development of a strong sporting nation.

Based on a proposal filed by the CPPCC’s sports panel, the State Council, China’s Cabinet, issued a national fitness and sports industry development plan in October 2014, allowing more opportunities for private enterprises to get involved in organizing and marketing mass sporting events.

The proportion of Chinese people who exercise at least three times a week with medium intensity rose to 33.9 percent of the national population by the end of 2015-an increase of 5.7 percentage points from 2007, according to the national fitness survey released by the General Administration of Sport of China in early 2016.

The goal was set to increase the number of regular exercisers to 530 million, about 40 percent of the total population, by 2030.

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