Ruan Weiguo, a physical education teacher of the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, decided to launch a weight loss class for the upcoming semester in March.
Students attending the class can earn two academic credits, and at the same time lose weight and shape their body.
"Every semester, there will be one or two overweight students in my class, and they perform poorly in physical education tests," said Ruan, who specializes in sports culture, and basketball instruction and training.
A poor PE score will pull down their average GPA, and a poor body shape may also influence their self-esteem in life, according to Ruan.
"My primary goal is to help students cultivate a healthy lifestyle, train their willpower, and build up their confidence," Ruan said.
Ruan said the course, first attempted in the university, will be useful for students who have been struggling with their weight.
The course, named "Sports Nutrition and Scientific Weight Control," will choose 24 students from 70 applicants.
"Student interest in the class far exceeded my expectation," Ruan said.
"I have never taken a PE class especially for keeping fat off before, and I am very interested in it," said Ruan Chunyan, 20, a Criminal Law major.
The class will combine weight loss theory with practice.
Students have to learn the theory of nutrition, weight control methods and sports physiology. They will also need to take after-class aerobic exercises to enhance physical coordination and dexterity.
"I will set up a 'weight loss file' to track every student's progress," Ruan said. "Students have to record their food recipe every day, along with their exercise time."
Zhai Yong, 20, a sophomore majoring in International Law, said he could not wait to apply for the course when he heard about it.
"My eating habits are not healthy, and I seldom do sports," Zhai said. "I hope to lose weight from 90 kg to 75 kg under scientific guidance."
In addition to weight control, Ruan said the class aimed to inspire students to cultivate an interest in sports and a positive life attitude.
"I will not simply hand out grades based on how many pounds of fat the student has shaken it off," Ruan said. "The process is more important than the grade. I help them to cultivate a spirit of self-discipline for their future life."
Obesity has become an increasingly serious problem among Chinese. Thirty percent of Chinese adults are overweight, and 11.9 percent obese, said Liang Xiaofeng, deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, last May.