Majority of California schoolchildren flunk fitness tests The Sacramento Bee
March 28, 2011
A majority of California students – including Sacramento kids –
are unfit, according to results released Thursday [March 24,
2011] from the 2010 School Physical Fitness Test.
Given to students in fifth, seventh and ninth grades, the test
showed particularly low fitness levels among the youngest
students, with 71 percent of the state’s fifth-graders unable to
perform at a level designated as the Healthy Fitness Zone.
The test assesses six fitness areas: aerobic capacity (running,
walking), body composition (percentage fat), abdominal strength
(curl-ups), trunk extensor strength (trunk lifts), upper body
strength (push-up, pull-up), and flexibility (shoulder stretch).
In Sacramento County, 70 percent of fifth-grade students were not
able to meet criteria in all six fitness areas.
Sixty-five percent of seventh-graders and 60 percent of
ninth-graders also failed to meet all six fitness criteria.
The California Association for Health, Physical Education,
Recreation and Dance released a statement from its president,
Daniel Latham, attributing the poor fitness levels to schools’
cutting physical education programs over the past five years.
“These scores clearly indicate that we are now realizing the
negative results of cutting our physical education programs,”
Latham said in a statement. “We are cutting our programs at the
expense of our kids’ health and wellness.”
California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
announced plans Thursday for a campaign to improve health and
fitness among the state’s 6.2 million schoolchildren.
“The Team California for Healthy Kids campaign will help students
adopt the healthy habits that will help them succeed in the
classroom today – and help them stay healthy over a lifetime,”
Torlakson said in a statement.