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September 13, 2017updated 08 Sep 2017 11:37am

Too sweet for the Chinese army: New recruits told to put down the soda

By GlobalData Consumer

In an online post The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has suggested that soda over indulgence has led to a higher level of failed physical tests amongst new recruits.

In a post directed at potential recruits, the PLA have advised against consumption of sugary drinks and alcohol.

This proposal was part of a longer list that urged potential recruits to exercise more, spend less time in front of screens and develop better sleeping habits.

This advice was amongst other slightly less orthodox health suggestions, such as cutting down on computer games as some candidates were failing the physical examination due to abnormalities relating to sitting down too much.

Despite garnering widespread mockery on Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, this advice has come at a time when there is a focus in Asia on sugar consumption.

This month seven major soft drinks manufacturers in Singapore including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Nestle have agreed to reduce the sugar content in their drinks to 12 percent or lower by 2020.

Additionally the south-east Asian state of Brunei is implementing a sugar tax on drinks this year in an effort to control excessive consumption.

The focus on sugary drinks can be linked to the fact that diabetes is increasingly becoming a serious concern for health authorities in many countries across Asia.

This pledge seems to be the first in Asia in which a national health regulator has receive such commitment from the largest players.

China reportedly has high levels of childhood obesity, supporting the PLA’s claims that in one Chinese city, which witnessed 59.9 percent of its new army recruits failing their initial fitness tests, one in five were rejected for being overweight.

The PLA’s health advice has a resonance that travels beyond the scope of the military and its struggle to recruit healthy candidates.

It underlines the overall issue China is facing whereby concerns surrounding obesity and diabetes seem to be growing.

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