Livermore Valley Unified students posted mixed results on a battery of tests designed to gauge physical fitness, according to the latest reports from the California Department of Education.
Overall, Livermore students scored in higher percentiles in abdominal strength and trunk extension strength.
The upper grades also scored well in upper body strength and flexibility.
The scores in aerobic capacity and body composition were not as high.
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The 2012 Physical Fitness Test was administered to approximately 1.3 million fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders, approximately 93 percent of the students enrolled in those grades throughout the state, with between 13,000 and 15,000 in each of the three grade levels tested in Alameda County.Livermore Unified School District, Physical Fitness Test 2011-2012 Physical Fitness Area % Grade 5 Students in HFZ* % Grade 5 Students in Needs Improve- ment - High Risk % Grade 7 Students in HFZ* % Grade 7 Students in Needs Improve- ment - High Risk % Grade 9 Students in HFZ* % Grade 9 Students in Needs Improve- ment - High Risk Aerobic Capacity 64.9 5.3 73.3 5.1 73.6 10.2 Body Composition 55.0 30.4 58.9 16.7 64.9 20.7 Abdominal Strength 77.8 N/A 91.4 N/A 96.5 N/A Trunk Extension Strength 81.4 N/A 92.3 N/A 86.2 N/A Upper Body Strength 57.2 N/A 79.4 N/A 82.1 N/A Flexibility 69.7 N/A 82.5 N/A 92.7 N/A *Fitness Health Zone Source: California Department of Education
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.
“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.
With shrinking school budgets, daily physical education programs and outdoor activities often do not make the cut. Many schools rely on nonprofit organizations to provide bi- or tri-weekly activity for students.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.)
How recorded scores are classified can be viewed in this PDF on the state’s website.
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.
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.