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Less Than a Third of California Students Post Healthy Fitness Scores

Imperial Beach students reflect trend of fifth-graders lacking in fitness, but older students improving as they age, according to the state Department of Education's results for the 2011-2012 school year.

Fewer than a third of the more than one million fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders in California who took the 2012 Physical Fitness Test posted healthy scores in all six of the tested areas, according to results released by the state.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson called the statistics, in which just 31 percent of the students were noted as healthy, “a tremendous public health challenge.”

This “affects more than their health–study after study has demonstrated the very clear link between physical fitness and academic achievement,” he said.

However, Torlakson said he was pleased to observe that students generally became more fit as they grew older, scoring better in Grades 7 and 9 than they did as fifth-graders.

The numbers in the South Bay Union School District and Sweetwater Union High School District reflected that trend. Student scores can be viewed here.

The FITNESSGRAM program used by the state has six individual tests including aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength, and flexibility.

The California State Board of Education designated the FITNESSGRAM in 1996 as the required Physical Fitness Test that local educational agencies administer to students annually in grades five, seven, and nine.

State law requires all public schools in California to report the findings in their School Accountability Report Cards and provide students with their individual results.

The categories measured are:

  • Aerobic capacity, via a one-mile run.
  • Body composition, by skinfold measurements.
  • Abdominal strength and Endurance, by curl-ups
  • Truck extensor strength and flexibility, by a trunk lift in inches.
  • Upper body strength and endurance, by 90-degree push-ups, a modified pull-up and flexed arm hang.
  • Flexibility, by a sit-and-reach and a shoulder stretch – touching fingertips together behind the back on both the right and left sides.

Torlakson’s Team California for Healthy Kids initiative engages celebrity athletes, community leaders, public health advocates, parents, teachers and students to partner together to help students make healthy choices.

John Galt November 20, 2012 at 12:35 PM
1. stop eating Twinkies 2. Put down your computer/tv remote/phone/ name your own device and get outside and play. Go camping, hiking, swimming, bicycle riding... 3. Stop drinking big gulps...
Jon Hall November 20, 2012 at 03:36 PM
1) Bring back PE 2) Bring back PE 3) Bring back PE
Erika Lowery November 20, 2012 at 05:53 PM
BOTH! I would add have kids learn where their food comes from - send them to a farm and teach them how to grow/raise food. Teach them nutrition. Teach them to eat to nourish their body and mind. But getting out and moving is KEY! Fresh air and movement would improve most kids' temperaments.
Jon Hall November 20, 2012 at 07:45 PM
This just in --- after 100 years of studying, examining, and testing it has been determined that the key to long term weight loss is to follow this simple formula taking in calories - burning calories = body mass The larger the body mass number the bigger your butt --- conversely, a negative body mass number equates to a lean, mean fighting machine I know, I know --- too simple --- can't be that easy ...
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