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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 July 2007, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
China takes steps to curb passion
The obese girl band named Qianjin at a club for obese people in Beijing
One-fifth of the world's overweight and obese people live in China
China is changing the way it runs compulsory dance classes, introduced to tackle child obesity, because parents fear their children may fall in love.

Sports officials say they will now encourage students to dance in large groups or by themselves.

Some parents had expressed fears that if boys and girls danced hand in hand they might fall in love and put their studies at risk.

The lessons will start in September amid concerns over physical inactivity.

Obesity on rise

The Ministry of Education announced last month that seven dance steps, including the waltz, would begin in primary and middle schools.

The State General Administration of Sports says changes had been agreed to calm fears of parents who hold traditional values.

Administration official Yin Guochen told the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post: "The [children] don't have to dance with specific partners, which will be more easily accepted by both students and their parents.

"Four students will be grouped together to perform the waltz and they will change partners regularly as soon as one song finishes. This way, the risk of young love will be lowered."

Chinese officials have expressed concern at growing obesity levels in children.

In a report last year, medical Professor Wu Yangfeng said that in the 15 years between 1985 and 2000, the number of overweight and obese children had increased 28-fold.

One-fifth of the world's overweight and obese people live in China and the numbers are rising dramatically.

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