A university in east China is offering classes that links weight loss directly to grades in an attempt to tackle obesity on campus.
The course, offered at the Nanjing Agricultural University since 2015 was created by sports lecturer Zhou Quanfu.
He came up with the idea after the findings of a study conducted at the university five years ago revealed that 13 per cent of students were overweight.
The amount of weight loss will make up about 60 per cent of a student’s grade.
Overweight student receives advice during exercises with an instructor in China (file photo)
According to the People’s Daily, shedding seven per cent of body weight merits a student a passing grade for the course.
The program runs for six weeks, consisting of three or four 90 minute classes per week and aims to encourage students to control their diets and increase exercise.
However, those who wish to join must have more than 30 per cent body fat or a body mass index (BMI) that exceeds 28, which classifies someone as obese.
The rigorous routine includes running on treadmills and recording food intake.
Obese Chinese students take swimming classes to assist with fitness in China (file photo)
Zhou Quanfu said most overweight students did not exercise on their own because they thought it was pointless.
CHINA’S BIG ISSUE: OBESITY IS ON THE RISE
Prevalence of childhood overweight rose from 1.11 per cent to 9.62 per cent between 1985 and 2010
Overweight and obesity were found to be most common among boys living in urban regions (23.2 per cent)
World Obesity Federation expects China to top the world in childhood obesity in 2025
Obese children aged between five and 18 will reach over 48 million in China in a decade
Source: WHO, CCTV News
He said: ‘So to motivate them we have designed the course to have their weight loss directly linked to their marks.’
Zhou explained that students must also log everything they consume to the popular messaging platform WeChat, where they will be consulted by nutritionists.
One student reportedly lost a total of 25.5 kg (56 pounds) after his weight dropped from 110 kg (242 pounds) to 84.5 kg (186 pounds).
The fitness course is the latest response from schools and colleges to concerns that the lack of general fitness among China’s youth is becoming a generational problem.
The obesity rate in China’s youth has increased rapidly in recent years.
Chinese schools were given fitness targets in a bid to improve the health of pupils.
However, the government was forced to lower standards because too many children were failing to meet them.
A predicted 28 per cent of children in China aged between seven and 18 will be classified as obese or overweight by 2030, according to a report conducted by Peking University’s School of Public Health earlier this year.
Keen Chinese students exercise in a gym as China tackles its obesity crisis (file photo)
Last month, according to state media, schools in one Chinese city have not set an athletic record for more than 30 years.
Many blame poor diets and and technology including smartphones for the apparent dip in standards among Chinese youth.
Concerns were also raised regarding the future of China’s armed forces, with reports of an increasing number of young people who are too fat and unhealthy to join their China’s military.