"Student waistlines have expanded almost as fast as the Chinese economy," reports the Guardian. The solution? Mandatory dance lessons:
The Ministry of Education said the dances were designed to "suit the physical and psychological characteristics of students at different ages". New steps and melodies will be introduced every two years. (Ed–For now, there's actually no cha-cha, only waltz. But can it be far behind?)
The routines–which will supplement rather than replace regular physical education classes—are reportedly aimed at turning a generation of chubby cheeks into twinkle toes….Studies suggest one in five children are obese. Rising affluence, reduced exercise and the growing popularity of fast food such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonalds have hit school fitness levels badly. The average pupil today is slower and weaker than 10 years ago.
Alas, this seemingly flawless plan has its detractors:
"The dance plan makes no sense. Running and callisthenics are a more effective way to lose weight. Our school needs to hire a special teacher to teach dancing and it will take up a lot of time," said Ma Yanling a teacher in Beijing, whose class of 37 includes only five overweight students. "Most importantly, letting students waltz will create hotbeds of adolescent love. That is not good. Schools work very hard to prevent students from falling in love too early."
To dig into the full reason obesity archive, go here.