Student Fitness Levels Improve Over 2003, State Report Finds
About 27% of California's fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders achieved minimum fitness levels in the California Physical Fitness Test last spring, up from 25% in 2003, state schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell announced Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports (DiMassa, Los Angeles Times, 11/25). The Fitnessgram, taken by more than 1.3 million students, tests cardiovascular health, abdominal strength, body fat, flexibility and other "physical benchmarks," the Los Angeles Daily News reports (Radcliffe, Los Angeles Daily News, 11/25).
California is the first state in the country to require physical education as part of the curriculum in public schools, according to the Times (Los Angeles Times, 11/25). The state requires that elementary school students have 200 minutes of physical education every 10 days and 40o minutes every 10 days for secondary school students (Los Angeles Daily News, 11/25).
However, because physical education classes are not subject to the same class size limits as academic subjects, some have more than 60 students, the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 11/25).
O'Connell said the results of the tests are "unacceptable" and added that students need to exercise and eat properly to do well academically. "We clearly need to do more to eradicate the silent epidemic of childhood obesity," he said (Los Angeles Daily News, 11/25).