The 2012 Physical Fitness Test was administered to approximately 1.3 million fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders in California with about 31 percent of students posting healthy scores in all six of the tested areas, it was announced recently.
“When we can call fewer than one out of three of our kids physically fit, we know we have a tremendous public health challenge on our hands,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. “It affects more than their health—study after study has demonstrated the very clear link between physical fitness and academic achievement.
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.
In the Lake Elsinore Unified School District, 1,504 fifth-graders, 1,506 seventh-graders and 1,422 ninth-graders were given the tests. The scores for the students can be viewed here.
The FITNESSGRAM test is designed to evaluate fitness performance 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 these results in their School Accountability Report Cards and provide students with their individual results.
To test Aerobic Capacity, students are measured on a one-mile run. Body Composition is quantified by skinfold measurements. Abdominal Strenth and Endurance is measured by curl-ups, and Truck Extensor Strength and Flexibility is measured by a trunk lift (in inches.) Upper Body Strength and Endurance is measured by 90 degree push-ups, a modified pull-up and flexed arm hang. Lastly, Flexibility of measured 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.