Majority of California children fail school fitness tests

The Sacramento BeeMarch 25, 2011 

A majority of California students – including Sacramento kids – are unfit, according to results released Thursday 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.

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