Local governments and schools have been told to promote the health of students and physical education (PE) courses.
A circular, published on Monday by the general office of the State Council, or China's Cabinet, requires measures to ensure that primary and middle school students spend one hour each day on schoolyard sports.
Time devoted to PE courses and sports should not be reduced or diverted for other use, according to the circular.
The State Council has approved a document looking at ways to strengthen PE among students. It was jointly submitted by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance, the National Development and Reform Commission and the General Administration of Sport, said the circular.
The document also vowed more government investment.
It encouraged efforts to organize more after-class sports activities for students and told schools to support students' sports clubs.
PE should promote students' interest in sport, develop morality, cooperative spirit and communication skills and impart basic knowledge and skills, the document said.
Such education should help students develop good exercise habits and a healthy lifestyle.
The document also called for measures to staff schools with better PE teachers.
Government-sponsored training programs for PE teachers will be strengthened and teachers should be guaranteed equal opportunities in promotion, welfare and treatment and professional evaluation, the document said.
It also encouraged retired athletes to teach in schools according to relevant regulations.
Authorities have been urged to step up the construction of sports facilities and called on public sports venues to offer free or discounted admission to young students.
The document also called for an examination and assessment system of students' physical health.P A national standard of students' physical health should be established and implemented. Schools nationwide should organize physical examinations for all students annually and report the results to a national database, the document said.
Parents will be notified about relevant information.
Health conditions will be considered in performance assessments of schools and relevant government departments.
PE in China has improved over recent years. However, it is viewed as a weak link in school education, with a lack of an assessment system as well as sufficient teachers, places and facilities, which has restrained the development of students' health, the document added.