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Charity fears for children's physical fitness

TAIPEI--A local charity said Sunday it is concerned about the level of physical fitness among Taiwanese schoolchildren, as a recent poll indicated that many of them are unable to cope with physical activity.

In the poll of 1,015 fourth and fifth graders, it was found that 57.7 percent have experienced chest pain and difficulty breathing after running 400 meters, said the Child Welfare League Foundation,

Furthermore, 24.7 percent have fainted during physical activity or have stopped exercising because of physical discomfort, said Chiu Ching-hui, a section chief at the foundation that conducted the survey.

The foundation said Taiwanese schoolchildren are in poor physical condition because they lack exercise.

“Over 70 percent of them get less than two hours of exercise per week outside of school, and 50 percent get less than one hour,” Chiu said, citing the poll.

At school, Taiwanese children take 80 minutes of physical education classes each week on average, similar to Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, she said.

However, that is less time than the 200 minutes per week in France and 185 minutes in China, Chiu added.

Meanwhile, the poll also showed that Taiwanese students spend seven times the amount of time watching TV as exercising outside of school and five times more time surfing the Internet.

The lack of sports venues and equipment is one of the reasons why schoolchildren in Taiwan would rather watch TV, play video games or surf the Internet than exercise, Chiu said.

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