Building Healthier and Slimmer Students | 让学生们变得更健康、苗条

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The summer before my first year of college in Iowa, my friends and loved ones gave me a flood of advice. They told me what to pack, how to take notes and avoid partying my grades away, and what courses of study or majors I should consider. They also told me their homespun answers to warding off the infamous “Freshman 15” – the unflattering weight gain that often comes along with cafeteria meals, junk-food fueled study sessions, and empty calories swallowed during weekend parties and nights out. Their advice ran the gambit, from, “avoid brown foods,” to “follow every meal with a big cup of tea.”

 

Ultimately, my answer for warding off the ‘Freshman 15’ was the same one that is touted and used, in my experience quite successfully, in China: exercise.

Here at Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious, physical activity for undergraduates is not just encouraged, it is mandated. For the duration of the year, every male student is required to run at least 3,000 meters per week on one of several designated tracks. Prior to running, they must check in with their student card and log in their exercise. The requirement is less stringent for females, but is still present. This requirement comes on top of a mandatory semi-military training at the beginning of the school semester, in which first year students wake at the break of dawn to march with a drill instructor, do PT exercises and take part in team-building exercises like group jump rope.

It’s an impressive sight to see early in the morning, as hundreds of students in camouflage fatigues jog and chant, and, as the sun sinks, hundreds more students flock to the track to pound out their mandatory exercise.

I can imagine the response if the same requirements were placed on American University students, who pride themselves on individuality, free-thinking, and generally challenging norms – “No Way!”

Despite the admitted loss of freedom that comes with the system of mandatory physical education in China, the effects are noticeable. Very few students here are obese, and those who are generally aren’t overweight to the same extremes as many American students. Granted, this is a result of more than the mandatory exercise requirements (less binge eating and drinking, smaller portion sizes, etc.), but it definitely cannot hurt.

What amazes me most about the system, though, is that nearly all of the Chinese students I’ve talked to accept the requirements, shrug them off as a necessity of study, and don’t buck the system or try to cheat.

“We understand it’s just something we must do,” Raymond, one of my friends who’s a graduate student at Tsinghua, says. “There’s nothing we can do about it, so we just do what we must.”

My question to you, then is, should American University install a similar system of mandatory exercise? It builds discipline, burns calories, and would, after all, help combat that tricky Freshman 15.

Students already exercising and living healthy lives would have little to fear because the requirements would be light, aimed at getting the laziest bunch off the couch and away from the potato chips. But, in the end, is it worth it? Does the end goal of healthier students justify the means? I’d love to hear your feedback.

 


 

在我在爱荷华上大学的第一个学期前,我的亲戚朋友给了我许多的建议。他们告诉我要带些什么去宿舍,如何在上课的时候有效的记笔记,不要因为去太多的派对而使成绩下滑,还有他们认为什么专业最适合我等等。他们还告诉我他们自创的能帮我避免“新生15”的办法-一次在15磅左右的,由于在餐厅进餐、复习时吃太多的垃圾食品以及周末或晚上参加派对时摄入的大量卡路里而造成的体重上的增加。他们的建议非常的不一样,从“不要吃棕色的食品”到“每餐过后喝杯茶”。最终,就像我在中国所做的,我避免“新生15”的答案就像其他人所说并做的-锻炼。

 

在中国顶尖大学之一的清华大学,本科生们的体育运动不仅仅是被鼓励的,更是被要求的。男学生每年都必须每周至少在学校的跑道上跑3000米,跑步前他们必须用自己的学生卡登记并记录下自己的运动量,这个规定对女生的要求相对来说比较轻松一些。而大一的学生们还需要在学期开始前进行半军事化训练,他们需要在天还没亮的时候被教官叫起来,进行训练并参与一些比如集体跳绳之类的团队训练。

 

每天早上看到几百的学生们在日出的时候穿着迷彩服边跑步边喊着口号,日落的时候又能看到几百学生涌去跑步都是是非常让人印象深刻的景象。

 

我能想象到如果这些规定被美国大学引进,那些非常崇尚自我主义,思想自由并喜欢挑战常理的美国大学生们一定会说-“决不!”

 

虽然中国的学生们由于这些必须的体育教育而明显的丧失了许多自由,但很少有肥胖的学生们,即使有些胖学生也不会像美国的一些学生那样严重。这虽然不仅仅是体育运动的结果(也因为摄入量少,每餐的分量也比较小),但这绝对不会有害。

 

这个体系最让我惊奇的是,几乎所有我接触过的学生们都接受了这个要求,把它看成是学习的一部分,还不能贿赂或作弊。

 

 “我们认为这是我们必须做的事情”我在清华攻读研究生的朋友Raymond说道“我们不能改变它,所以只能做我们必须做的事。”

 

我对你的问题是,你认为美国的大学应该开展类似的项目吗?它能帮助学生学习纪律,燃烧多余的脂肪,并能最终的帮助改善那个麻烦的“新生15”问题。

 

那些已经有着足够的运动量并过着健康生活的学生们不用担心,因为这要求并不高,只是想让最懒的那批人离开他们的沙发和薯片。但是最终这值得吗?最终变得更健康的学生们能使过程合理化吗?我想知道你的想法。

 

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When I was in my primary school in China, my school became a semi-military school when I was in Grade  3. We were required to be trained by real marines and march around the school. The training program would last throughout the year.

When I went to secondary school, we had to go through a light training session before the year started. I was both surprised and proud to find out that I knew all the training items as I have learned them years ago. Then I was disappointed to see that none of my new friends were impressed by that and the training quickly ended.

I am not sure how China is like now, but if nothing has changed, I do not think the military training for students are effective, at least not as effective as the program designer hoped to be. Most students just see it as something that they have to do thus most of them go through these training half-heartedly. I personally do not think these students would receive any benefits from the training at all.

When I was in Singapore, there was no training for students unless they join certain clubs. All male students are supposed to go through military training and serve in Singapore's Army for about two years. However, students in Singapore are required to pass a physical exam every year which includes a 2400 meter run. They are also required to run a 5000 meter cross-country every year.

Many people told me that I should expect to gain a lot of weight when I came to the United States. I did gain the expected weight within the first year. However, I think the weight came from the diet instead of lack of exercise because I went swimming everyday during that year. I feel most American diets are just not balanced enough, most of the time people eat the same dishes every day.

I can see that more and more Americans around me are becoming more aware of their health conditions. They are focusing more on not only the diet or physical exercise but also psychologically. I think this is what most Chinese lack of. I wish I can see more Chinese students getting involved with community activities and volunteering in the future.

 


 

当我在中国上小学三年级时,我的小学成为了军校,我们都必须参加由真正的海军士兵主导的军训并在操场上走正步,而我们的军训则会持续一整年。

当我上初中时,我们需要在学年开始前参加一个简短的军训,我即惊讶又自豪的发现自己已经在几年前就学过大部分的军训内容了。但我又非常沮丧的发现,我的新朋友们没有一个为此感到惊讶的,而且军训很快就结束了。

我不确定中国现在的情况,但如果和以前一样的话,我不认为这种军训会有太大的效果,至少不会像设计这个项目的设计者所希望达到的效果。大部分学生把这个看成一个必须要做的事所以都是以非常敷衍的态度来对待它,我个人认为这样的学生是不会从中获得任何的好处的。

当我在新加坡时,除了一些加入了某些学生俱乐部的的学生外,学生们不需要参加集体的军事训练,但新加坡男性都必须在合适的年龄时花两年左右加入军队。不过新加坡的学生们每年都必须通过一个包括了两千四百米长跑的体能考试,并必须每年跑一次五公里越野长跑。

许多人告诉我来了美国后我一定会增重,我的确在来了的一年内增加了这些重量,但我觉得这些重量是从饮食中来的而不是缺乏锻炼导致的,因为那年我每天都会去学校的运动馆游泳。我认为美国人的饮食不太均衡,许多人每天都吃一样的菜。

我也发现美国人正在变得更加注意他们的健康状况。他们不仅仅关注自己的饮食和运动,还关注自己的心理健康 。我认为大部分中国人正缺乏这方面的关注,我由衷的希望能在未来看到越来越多的中国学生能更多的参与社区活动并做志愿义务工作。

 

 

language: 
Chinese