BEIJING, August 9 (Xinhuanet) -- The Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 left China's capital with a whole range of sporting centers, but what will become of these facilities has been the topic of debate for the last couple of years.
Cheng Lianyuan, the head of Beijing's Chaoyang District, recently announced that all these sporting venues would be turned into recreational zones as well as being used for exhibitions and sightseeing. A managing committee would be formed at the end of this year to take care of the Olympic Green, he said.
In fact, a sports and cultural festival began Saturday and will run till August 22 at the Olympic Green. A large number of free tickets are available for Beijingers to witness the shows and be a part of the fitness program that include roller-skating, ping-pong and basketball. This event should hopefully raise those issues that have a profound impact on the way we think about, and plan for, physical exercise.
Beijing will encourage its residents to pick up the calisthenics to promote their physical wellbeing. The city authorities have published a 10-year keep-fit outline, which recommends that every employed person work out for at least 20 minutes each day.
All these events on the occasion of the second anniversary of the Beijing Olympic Games drive home a clear message: China should move as its people are packing on the pounds. The journal Health Affairs has reported that more than a fifth of China's adult population is overweight, related to changing dietary and physical activity patterns.
This is something China should not be proud of at a time of rapid economic progress.
Beijing and other cities need more zones like the Olympic Green where residents are free to jog or walk to shed some extra pounds.