China Running Mandate Off to a Slow Start

A national running campaign in China requires that all students K-16 run daily at school (Elementary -1 K, Middle School 1.5K, and High School -College 2K). It's all in the name of health and will continue from September 08 through the end of April 09.

It seems China's Minister of Education and teachers felt that childhood obesity and health concerns made the mandate necessary. However, some parents and students felt the running mandate was excessive as some students lacked the physical stamina to succeed and should have the right to refuse.

A survey of Chinese students' health in 2005 showed that lack of physical stamina was a serious problem. The campaign is intended to improve children's endurance and team spirit, said a Ministry of Education official.