In recently published results, just 31% of California students were able to pass tests in six different areas of fitness.
1.34 millions students were tested in the fifth, seventh and ninth grade. To pass the test, or score what state officials call a “healthy fitness zone,” a ninth-grade male, 5′ 6″ and 150 pounds, would need to run a mile in nine minutes, perform at least 16 push-ups and do at least 24 curl-ups. Body fat is also measured, along with flexibility.
While the state had seen steady increases for the past five years, officials site more accurate tools of measuring aerobic capacity and body fat as well as budget cuts as two reason for this year’s drop.
School districts, such as L.A. Unified, have done all they can to keep physical education programs and rework cafeteria menus to cut out unhealthy options, but budget cuts across the state have created a severe shortage. A November poll found that 75% of 1,600 PTA members said their school’s physical education and sports programs had been eliminated or reduced.
State Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakso is enlisting the help of NBA great Bill Walton to speak to various schools about healthy habits and lifestyles. He has also created a new campaign called Team California for Healthy Kids, which will encourage schools to apply for grants for salad bars, form partnerships with farmers markets and integrate physical activity into instruction and other activities.
To read the article in its entirety, check out the LA Times.
What do you make of all of this? Do you see similar trends in your home state? Share your thoughts in the comments below.