Health has always been the most concerned issue in people’s life. However, among science and technology advancement, economic development and the ever better living standards, we still cannot shun from the worsening health problems. The adolescents as a special group are, on the one hand, under great pressure from their study, and ,on the other hand, faced with different temptations, such as bad behaviors, unhealthy information and habits, from our society. Under the influence of various factors, the physical health of Chinese adolescents are worrying.
At present, the overall physical health of Chinese adolescents is on the low side, which manifests itself mainly through the following aspects:poor physical qualities, declination in athletic abilities, increasing number of obese adolescents, more and more people with poor eyesight, declination of organ functions, low psychological qualities among them, a widespread low endurance for pressure and stress, poor concentration ability, high proportion of impulsive adolescents with radical tendencies, lack of endurance and self-control, prone to be tempted or interfered by unhealthy information, behaviors and habits which triggers declination in physical and psychological qualities, and no sufficient awareness for the importance of health among the adolescents. The wisdom of a nation lies in the wisdom of its youth, so is its strength as well as its advancement, thus the physical health of the adolescents counts as the foundation for a nation’s development. Consequently, we shall spare no efforts to solve those issues affecting our adolescents’ health.
There are three key factors affecting Chinese adolescents’ health, namely, social, educational and managerial factors. As for the social factors, they mainly refers to the irregular study and rest time, unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercises. The adolescents are under mounting stress due to the increasing pressures from study, getting employed and from life, so that they are forced to spend more time on classes and learning, which in turn affects the balance of their study and rest time. The improved transportation infrastructure facilities have also led to a sharply decreasing opportunities for them to take exercises, for instance, cars and other public vehicles are available when they need to go somewhere, and elevators are ready for their use when they need to go upstairs. In addition, there are no sufficient sports facilities in our communities across China, the habit and environment for doing exercises is not satisfactory, and there is little time for adolescents to do exercises. The health concepts and targets by our schools constitute major educational factors that affect the physical qualities of our adolescents. Though greater significance has been attached to PE tests in graduation examinations, the physical education concepts at our schools have not seen fundamental changes. Exam-oriented education still forms the core of our educational concepts and targets, correspondingly, students only practice those that will be on the exam papers. The idea of seeking quick success and instant benefits has always been everywhere, which has led to wrong concepts on health education and become a devastating hinder to students’ interests in and understanding of sports and physical education. What is more, it is rampant that PE has long been neglected in our primary and secondary schools, there are no enough sports stadiums or facilities in schools, which is especially the case in rural areas, leaving the adolescents with no suitable places and facilities for exercises. As for the managerial factors, though the Advice on Strengthening the Youth’s Physical Education and Improving Their Physical Qualities issued by CPC Central Committee and the State Council stipulated clearly that primary and secondary school students from urban and rural areas shall form the major groups to be covered under the pilot trails of the Urban Residents’ Basic Medical Insurance System as well as the New Rural Cooperative Medical System. School’s health care systems shall carry out supervisions and inspections on their food security, drinking water quality and the prevention and control of infectious diseases. Nevertheless, there exist many problems when it comes time for the implementation and operation of such procedures, for example, lack of operating money, no sufficient supervisions, under-standard equipment and facilities, etc.
Based on what is said above, we may take the following measures to strengthen the management on Chinese adolescents’ physical health:
The government’s roles on guidance, supervision and coordination shall be strengthened. The government shall give full play to its guiding role and launch comprehensive and effective laws and regulations to enhance the adolescents’ physical qualities, such as the already issued and implemented Working Regulations of Physical Education At School, Advice on Strengthening the Youth’s Physical Education and Improving Their Physical Qualities, etc. These laws and regulations play a positive guiding role to improve the adolescents’ physical exercises and are in a strong binding and guiding position to the families, schools and even the society, which is helpful to create a good environment for the adolescents’ physical health. Thus we shall give further improvement to these laws and regulations. At the meanwhile, China has also issued some health and physical education related standards and regulations, for instance, National Standards on Physical Training, Students’ Physical Health Standards, which set goals on how to improve and strengthen adolescents’ physical health. The government’s supervision function shall also be strengthened to supervise and push forward an active implementation of the related regulations and standards on families, schools, our society and other individuals or organizations. However, the physical health education for adolescents amounts to an arduous task that requires huge investment, involves efforts from a wide range of sectors, and is time-consuming to see its effects. Consequently, we shall not solely rely on our government to finish such an arduous task. To have a full and thorough improvement on the physical health of adolescents, families, schools and communities shall all be actively engaged in, with guidance and coordination from our government.
The leading role of schools on adolescents’ physical health education shall be enhanced. To begin with, out-dated and unreasonable concepts on physical education and physical health education shall be abandoned. Rather than being exam-oriented, schools shall strengthen quality education, emphasizing the instructive nature of physical health education as well as the healthy effects it brings, and implement in a real sense the guiding ideology in health education that people and health first, attach importance to the status of physical education in the quality education system, and truly realize the educational functions of schools to better equip the adolescents with health knowledge, guide them to take active part in physical exercises, and shape them to acquire good lifestyle and learning habits. Secondly, improve teachers’ understanding of physical education and their teaching abilities. It shall be laid down in written forms that PE classes should not be replaced by other literacy classes without good reason to correct the popular thinking among teachers that PE class is of no importance. PE teachers shall strengthen their professional knowledge and teaching abilities, adopt various teaching methods and approaches and put into practices rich and interesting physical education activities to attract more students into physical exercises. Thirdly, psychological health class shall be taught at school to correct the adolescents’ wrong ideas and thinking and improve and enhance their psychological qualities. Lastly, “Sunshine Sports Activities” shall be implemented to actively respond to the government’s initiation.
The role of family health education on the promotion of adolescents’ physical health shall be strengthened. Family education forms an important part of life-long education and plays the key role in physical health education. Parents shall have a deep understanding and awareness of the significance of physical education on children and take the lead to take regular exercises so as to set a good model for our children in this aspect. Parents shall exercise with their children on a regular basis to cultivate children’s interest in physical exercises and form good habits. Adolescents are lack in good self-control and prone to be affected by external factors, however, the participation of parents in sports exercises with them will, except for its supervising function, be a good guidance to them as well. Parents shall encourage children to do some routine work to exercise their working abilities and shape them into good lifestyles. In addition, the advancement of science and technology is apt to make people into “lazybones”, so parents shall try to stop children from depending too much on various tools and devices and give them more opportunities for problem solving in the daily life. Parents shall pay attention to observe children’s study and rest time as well as their learning habits so as to find out problems from detailed observations, correct their unhealthy behaviors or thinking and guide their development towards a healthy lifestyle. (by Zhang Bingbing)