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New Regulations in China Aim to Combat Sedentary Habits among Children

New research conducted by the University of Bristol has shown the effectiveness of innovative measures implemented by the Chinese government to tackle sedentary behavior in children. The study, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, revealed the impact of regulations targeting online gaming companies, school activities, and private tutoring businesses. These unprecedented regulations led to a 13.8% reduction in daily sedentary time among schoolchildren, signaling a shift towards healthier lifestyles.

Dr. Bai Li, the lead author from the University’s Center for Exercise, Nutrition, and Health Sciences, emphasized the importance of this regulatory intervention. Dr. Li stated that traditional methods of educating and encouraging behavioral changes have not been very successful, and the new approach of holding companies accountable for compliance has proven to be more effective.

The study, which analyzed data from over 7,000 primary and secondary school students in the Guangxi region, noted a significant decrease in sedentary behavior, particularly in urban areas. Screen-viewing time decreased by 6.4% and students were 20% more likely to meet recommended screen time limits. Additionally, adherence to government-recommended homework durations saw a significant increase across all age groups.

Dr. Li called for further research to assess the scalability and effectiveness of such interventions beyond the Guangxi region. Professor Boyd Swinburn from the University of Auckland also emphasized the global implications of the study on public health policies. He highlighted the study’s significance in showing how regulatory measures can effectively influence sedentary behaviors and the impact of environmental conditions and governing policies on lifestyle habits.

While Swinburn acknowledged the challenges of replicating similar regulations in other countries, he noted the importance of the study in demonstrating the potential of regulatory measures in combating sedentary behavior. Further research is needed to determine the applicability of these interventions on a global scale.

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