The Korea Herald


Korean youth in bad shape

By 이종민

Published : March 29, 2011 - 18:13

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Sleeping five hours a night and only exercising when required to, Kwon Hye-won, like the majority of other female high-school students, was unhappy with her body.

“I spent most of my time studying, so a lot of my peers and I weren’t happy with how we looked,” said the second year university student.

Sadly, Kwon’s case is the majority here, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The National Youth Policy Institute found that over 70 percent of high school students are unhappy with their body, followed by 59 percent of middle and 35 percent of elementary school students.

The report also found a difference in sexes among the 9,844 students surveyed in 12 metropolitan government and provinces. While 66.1 percent of female students were concerned about their body, roughly 49 percent of male students answered the same.

When asked if the students had made attempts to reduce their body weight in the past year, nearly 60 percent of girls and 35 percent of boys answered yes.

The most common method was found to be reducing the size of meal portions, followed by regular exercise.

The report also found that students lacked exercise.

Over 20 percent of students have not had 30 minutes of exercise or more in the past week, with female students making up the majority.

High school students reported the least amount of exercise, where 71.1 percent replied that they exercise 2 days a week or less. The number was followed by middle schools students at 55.8 percent, and elementary school students at 38.6 percent.

Bodyweight was not the only concern addressed in the report. Almost seven out of ten youth here suffer from sleep deprivation, with 56.9 percent answering that they get less than six hours of sleep.

By Robert Lee (