Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health      

kidsdata advisory

The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health | May 23, 2013

Physical Fitness and Healthy Weight:
2012 Data on California Children in Public School

As concerns mount over the number of U.S. children who are overweight or obese, schools are measuring their students’ fitness and weight with increasingly sophisticated tools and tests. In California, public schools measure kids’ fitness through the California Physical Fitness Test, which is administered each year to students in grades 5, 7, and 9.

In 2012, 25% of 5th graders in California public schools met all state fitness standards, same as the previous year. The percentages for 7th and 9th graders are consistently higher than for 5th graders: 32% and 37%, respectively, in 2012. Figures vary widely at the county and school district levels. For example, in 2012, the percentage of 5th graders meeting all fitness standards ranged from 10% to 42% among California counties. While data for 2011 and 2012 may not be comparable with earlier data because of new testing standards, between 1999 and 2010, the statewide percentage of students meeting all fitness standards generally increased for all racial/ethnic groups, grade levels, and for girls and boys.

The six areas measured by the California Fitness Test are upper body strength, flexibility, aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, and trunk strength. Public schools also are measuring students’ fitness and weight not just with one-mile runs, push-ups and scales, but heart rate monitors and automated skinfold calipers.   

Fitness and healthy weight have been linked to improved physical and emotional health, as well as better school performance, and students at a healthy weight are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Read more about fitness and weight, including policy implications.

See 2012 Data on Physical Fitness and Healthy Weight in Your Community

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In 2012, 25% of 5th graders in California public schools met all state fitness standards, same as the previous year. Mascots is a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation of Children's Health, which uses data to promote the health and well being of children.
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