During the one-hour session, the youngsters sometimes crouch while holding heavy metal plates as they extend their arms. Sometimes they lie on cushions, lifting heavy sticks up and down; or they move up one leg, holding it with one hand while extending their other hand towards the ceiling.
Music is blaring, as at any other gym clubs, to stimulate the exercisers, who have already worked up major sweats, to keep them moving; coaches wearing microphones loudly encourage them to carry on.
Hou Ankun, a 16-year-old boy from Nanjing of Jiangsu, is the oldest and fattest among this group of trainees in weight-loss boot camp.
At 1.79 metres tall, Ankun is measured at 105 kilos – too heavy for ordinary people but representing progress for him since he weighed 120 kilos when he enrolled in camp three weeks ago.
“Being fat is really a big burden for me. I would feel tired from doing any small movement, such as just taking several steps,” he told the South China Morning Post.
Explosion in childhood obesity in China ‘worst ever’, expert says of new study findings
“So I don’t like any physical exercises,” Ankun said. “At school, physical education teachers tell us to run and I l have difficulty breathing and feel a sense of suppression in my chest [when running].”
Flabby juveniles, like Ankun, were rarely seen in China three decades ago, but they have become much more common – part of the country’s economic boom and the dramatic improvement in people’s livelihoods.
Childhood obesity is on track to pose a headache for the country as experts estimate one in four Chinese children over the age of 7 will be obese within 10 years.
China has 15 million obese children – the most of any country, followed by India with 14 million, according…