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Sedentary lives make many unfit for service

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-22 07:59

IN ONE PREFECTURE-LEVEL CITY nearly 57 percent of those applying to join the armed forces have failed their health test so far this year. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Monday:

That so many potential recruits failed the fitness test reveals the worrying fact that unhealthy lifestyles have taken a toll on many Chinese youngsters.

Among the physical defects and diseases that shut the army's door to these applicants, only body odor and flat feet are hereditary, meaning most of those who failed the physical exam have only themselves to blame. The results show that 20 percent failed because they were overweight, 46 percent were shortsighted or had other eyesight problems and 8 percent had varicocele, which can affect not just male fertility but also combat effectiveness.

Being overweight is due to an unhealthy diet, insufficient exercise and flawed daily schedule, leading to common complications like high blood pressure, while varicocele often accompanies a sedentary lifestyle.

The eyesight problems are even graver. It is estimated that more than 600 million Chinese citizens are shortsighted, according to the World Health Organization; almost half of the country's population. It is reported that China has more shortsighted teenagers than any other country: over 70 percent of high school and college students as well as 40 percent of primary school pupils are shortsighted.

It is not much of a surprise that people's lifestyles are to blame for such health problems. The internet and automobiles have profoundly changed people's lifestyles, not always for the better.

It is also noteworthy that the deterioration of environment has harmed public health. In the aforementioned case, 3.4 percent of those who failed their medical test suffered from diseases caused by a compromised local environment, such as water pollution. That could hamper the country's efforts to recruit healthy military personnel in the long run if not dealt with properly.

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