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Beijing steps up efforts to protect children's eyesight

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-11-08 13:35


Beijing has announced stricter measures to prevent and control nearsightedness, or myopia, among schoolchildren in the city, The Beijing News reported.

According to a plan released Thursday by Beijing municipal government, prevention and control of myopia will be used as an index to evaluate the government performance, adding that district governments and schools with worsening students' physical health for three consecutive years will be held accountable.

The plan states that the protection of students' eyesight will be included in assessment of all-round education, and it is strictly forbidden to evaluate the performance of education authorities or schools based on the single standardized test score.

The intervention center to protect students' eyesight set up in Beijing Tongren Hospital, China's most renowned ophthalmic hospital, will work together with local primary and secondary care institutions, the municipal center for disease control, as well as city's main hospitals to curb the spread of nearsightedness among students.

Besides, 10 targeted measures have been laid out to ensure implementation of steps to prevent and control myopia among schoolchildren. The measures explicitly define that teaching with electronic gadgets should be limited to no more than 30 percent of overall teaching time; parents should guide their children, especially preschoolers, to spend less time on electronic devices; children under the age of 8 should be prohibited from playing video games, and children should spend no more than one hour on electronic devices a day.

The steps include regular breaks for students in daytime. For primary and secondary school students, the outdoor activities should be of no less than one hour a day; Kindergartens should have no less than two hours of outdoor activities in the daytime, and boarding kindergartens should have no less than three hours of outdoor activities a day.

The measures also introduce the standard on reducing academic workload, which is believed to be related to myopia. Pupils in first and second grades should not be assigned any written homework. For kindergartens and pupils, families and schools should cooperate to guarantee no less than 10 hours of sleep; for middle school and high school students, the sleeping time for each day should be no less than nine hours and eight hours, respectively.

In addition, schools must ensure that students are eating nutritious diets that is good for their eyesight, and parents should strictly control their children's intake of high sugar, oil and salt from harmful food.

The city has set a goal for prevention and control of myopia - the percentage of children under the age of six with myopia should be reduced to 3 percent by 2030; the percentage of primary school students with myopia should be capped below 38 percent, with less than 60 percent of middle school and 70 percent of high school students nearsighted.

Myopia is becoming more prevalent among Chinese, especially the younger ones. A research report released by the World Health Organization last year showed that the myopia rate among Chinese minor was the highest in the world at 70 percent for high school and college students and nearly 40 percent for primary school students. The report also said the number of nearsighted people in China had reached 600 million, nearly half the country's population.

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