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California Department of Education News Release
Release: #12-106
November 15, 2012
Contact: Lara Azar
E-mail: communications@cde.ca.gov
Phone: 916-319-0818

California School Kids' Physical Fitness Test Results for 2012 Hold Steady

SACRAMENTO—Physical fitness scores for California's school kids are holding steady, with about 31 percent of students posting healthy scores in all six of the tested areas for the second year in a row, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.

The 2012 Physical Fitness Test was administered to approximately 1.3 million fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders, representing more than 93 percent of the total number of students enrolled in those grades in California public schools (Table 1). The state tracked the same groups of students—or "cohorts"—through the physical fitness tests in grades five, seven, and nine, which showed marked improvements in physical fitness over the years (Tables 6 and 7).

"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," Torlakson said. "It affects more than their health—study after study has demonstrated the very clear link between physical fitness and academic achievement. While I am glad their fitness levels improve as they make their way through school, we owe it to California's kids to give them more opportunities for exercise, along with better access to healthy foods and clean, fresh water."

Those are the goals behind Torlakson's Team California for Healthy Kids [http://www.teamcaliforniaforhealthykids.org/] External link opens in new window or tab. initiative, which engages celebrity athletes, community leaders, public health advocates, parents, teachers, and students in making healthy choices the easy choices. Torlakson is a teacher and longtime high school track and cross country coach who witnessed firsthand the link between physical health and wellness and success in school.

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.

The FITNESSGRAM® was designed by The Cooper Institute to evaluate fitness performance and increase the likelihood students will adopt lifetime patterns of physical activity. The FITNESSGRAM® assesses six fitness areas: (1) aerobic capacity, (2) body composition, (3) abdominal strength, (4) trunk extensor strength, (5) upper body strength, and (6) flexibility. For aerobic capacity and body composition, students may be classified in the "Healthy Fitness Zone® (HFZ)," "Needs Improvement," or "Needs Improvement—High Risk." In the other four areas, students are classified more generally as either being in the HFZ or needing improvement. Table 2 provides a comparison by the six fitness areas for students in grades five, seven, and nine tested in 2011 and 2012. The 2012 Physical Fitness Test results show that 25 percent of the students in grade five, 32 percent in grade seven, and 37 percent in grade nine scored within the HFZ for all six areas of the test (Tables 4 and 5).

While aerobic capacity is an indicator of physical fitness, body composition is perhaps the most important indicator of who will develop future health problems. This year's results show that almost a third, or 30 percent, of all students from grades five, seven, and nine are in the high-risk category for body composition.

The 2012 Physical Fitness Test results for schools, school districts, counties, and the state are available on the California Department of Education Web site [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresults.asp].

The California Department of Education (CDE) is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov or by mobile device at http://m.cde.ca.gov/. You may also follow Superintendent Torlakson on Twitter [http://www.twitter.com/TorlaksonSSPI] External link opens in new window or tab. and Facebook [http://www.facebook.com/CAEducation] External link opens in new window or tab.

# # # #

Table 1:
2012 Estimated Percentage of Grade Five, Seven, and Nine Students
in Healthy Fitness Zone1 (HFZ) by Fitness Areas

Fitness
Areas

Number
of
Grade
5
Students2

Percent
of
Grade
5
Students
in
HFZ

Percent
of
Grade
5
Students
in
NI3

Percent
of
Grade
5
Students
in
NI–High
Risk4

Number
of
Grade
7
Students2

Percent
of
Grade
7
Students
in
HFZ

Percent
of
Grade
7
Students
in
NI3

Percent
of
Grade
7
Students
in
NI–High
Risk4

Number
of
Grade
9
Students2

Percent
of
Grade
9
Students
in
HFZ

Percent
of
Grade
9
Students
in
NI3

Percent
of
Grade
9
Students
in
NI–High
Risk4

Aerobic
Capacity

449,122

62.3

29.6

8.1

440,541

63.6

24.9

11.5

441,162

62.4

24.7

12.9

Body
Composition

449,122

52.5

13.6

33.9

440,541

55.4

14.3

30.3

441,162

59.0

15.7

25.3

Abdominal
Strength

449,122

78.0

22.0

N/A

440,541

84.4

15.6

N/A

441,162

87.0

13.0

N/A

Trunk
Extensor
Strength

449,122

86.8

13.2

N/A

440,541

89.5

10.5

N/A

441,162

91.4

8.6

N/A

Upper
Body
Strength

449,122

68.1

31.9

N/A

440,541

71.9

28.1

N/A

441,162

76.6

23.4

N/A

Flexibility

449,122

70.8

29.2

N/A

440,541

79.6

20.4

N/A

441,162

84.0

16.0

N/A

1 Healthy Fitness Zone is a registered trademark of The Cooper Institute.

2 Includes partially tested students.

3 NI is Needs Improvement.

4 Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition fitness areas have an additional performance standard, NI - High Risk. Students in this area have the potential for future health problems. The need for increased activity and eating a healthy controlled diet is more urgent for students in this category than those students in the NI category. NI–High Risk category does not exist for fitness areas that are denoted as N/A (not applicable). Healthy Fitness Zone standards applied to the fitness areas are located on the CDE PFT Program Resources Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresources.asp].

Table 2:
Comparison of 2011 and 2012 Results
Estimated Percentage of Grade Five, Seven, and Nine Students
in Healthy Fitness Zone1 (HFZ) by Fitness Areas

Fitness Areas

2011
Percent of
Grade 5 Students in HFZ2

2012
Percent of
Grade 5 Students in HFZ2

Percentage Point Change
2012 to 2011
Grade 5

2011
Percent of
Grade 7 Students in HFZ2

2012
Percent of
Grade 7 Students in HFZ2

Percentage Point Change
2012 to 2011
Grade 7

2011
Percent of
Grade 9 Students in HFZ2

2012
Percent of
Grade 9 Students in HFZ2

Percentage Point Change
2012 to 2011
Grade 9

Aerobic Capacity

61.4

62.3

0.9

63.0

63.6

0.6

61.7

62.4

0.7

Body Composition

52.1

52.5

0.4

55.5

55.4

-0.1

59.4

59.0

-0.4

Abdominal Strength

78.9

78.0

-0.9

85.1

84.4

-0.7

87.2

87.0

-0.2

Trunk Extensor Strength

87.4

86.8

-0.6

90.2

89.5

-0.7

92.0

91.4

-0.6

Upper Body Strength

69.0

68.1

-0.9

72.2

71.9

-0.3

77.3

76.6

-0.7

Flexibility

70.9

70.8

-0.1

79.1

79.6

0.5

83.7

84.0

0.3

1 Healthy Fitness Zone is a registered trademark of The Cooper Institute.

2 Healthy Fitness Zone standards applied to the fitness areas are located on the CDE PFT Program Resources Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresources.asp].

Table 3:
Comparison of 2011 and 2012
Estimated Percentage of Grade Five, Seven, and Nine Students
in Needs Improvement (NI)–High Risk by Fitness Areas

Fitness Areas

2011
Percent of
Grade 5
Students in
NI – High Risk1

2012
Percent of
Grade 5
Students in
NI – High Risk1

Percentage Point Change
2012 to 2011
Grade 5

2011
Percent of
Grade 7
Students in
NI – High Risk1

2012
Percent of
Grade 7
Students in
NI – High Risk1

Percentage Point Change
2012 to 2011
Grade 7

2011
Percent of
Grade 9
Students in
NI – High Risk1

2012
Percent of
Grade 9
Students in
NI – High Risk1

Percentage Point Change
2012 to 2011
Grade 9

Aerobic Capacity

8.1

8.1

0.0

11.7

11.5

-0.2

12.8

12.9

0.1

Body Composition

34.2

33.9

-0.3

30.3

30.3

0.0

25.0

25.3

0.3

1 Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition fitness areas have an additional performance standard, NI - High Risk. Students in this area have the potential for future health problems. The need for increased activity and eating a healthy controlled diet is more urgent for students in this category than those students in the NI category. Healthy Fitness Zone standards applied to the fitness areas are located on the CDE PFT Program Resources Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresources.asp].

Explanation of table contents: Line 1 shows the percentage of students who scored in the NI–High Risk for the Aerobic Capacity fitness area and the percentage point change from 2012 and 2011. Line 2 shows the percentage of students who scored in the NI–High Risk for the Body Composition fitness area and the percentage point change from 2012 and 2011. A positive percent change indicates there are more students in the NI–High Risk category. The desired results are a negative percentage point change indicating fewer students in the NI–High Risk category.

Table 4:
2012 Estimated Percentage of Grade Five, Seven, and Nine Students
Number of Fitness Areas in the Healthy Fitness Zone1 (HFZ)

Number of
Fitness Areas
in the
Healthy Fitness
Zone
(HFZ)2

Number of
Grade 5
Students3

Percent of
Grade 5
Students in
HFZ

Cumulative
Percent of
Grade 5
Students in
HFZ4

Number of
Grade 7
Students3

Percent of
Grade 7
Students in
HFZ

Cumulative Percent of
Grade 7
Students in
HFZ4

Number of
Grade 9
Students3

Percent of
Grade 9
Students in
HFZ

Cumulative Percent of
Grade 9
Students in
HFZ4

6 of 6

113,692

25.3

25.3

140,535

31.9

31.9

160,965

36.5

36.5

5 of 6

104,073

23.2

48.5

101,796

23.1

55.0

101,033

22.9

59.4

4 of 6

89,446

19.9

68.4

85,097

19.3

74.3

84,145

19.1

78.5

3 of 6

68,614

15.3

83.7

60,582

13.8

88.1

53,089

12.0

90.5

2 of 6

45,969

10.2

93.9

34,950

7.9

96.0

26,674

6.0

96.5

1 of 6

22,052

4.9

98.8

14,047

3.2

99.2

11,031

2.5

99.0

0 of 6

5,276

1.2

100.0

3,534

0.8

100.0

4,225

1.0

100.0

Total Tested

449,122

 

 

440,541

 

 

441,162

 

 

1 Healthy Fitness Zone is a registered trademark of The Cooper Institute.

2 HFZ standards applied to the fitness areas are located on the CDE PFT Program Resources Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresources.asp].

3 Includes partially tested students.

4 Percentages in columns may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.

Table 5:
Comparison of 2006 through 2012
Estimated Percentage of Grade Five, Seven, and Nine Students
in Healthy Fitness Zone1, 2 (HFZ) for 6-Out-of-6 Fitness Areas

Grade

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

20113

20123

Percent
Change
2012 to 2006

Percent
Change
2012 to 2011

Grade 5

25.6

27.1

28.5

29.2

29.0

25.2

25.3

-0.3

0.1

Grade 7

29.6

30.9

32.9

34.2

35.0

32.1

31.9

2.3

-0.2

Grade 9

27.4

30.1

35.6

37.9

38.7

36.8

36.5

9.1

-0.3

1 Healthy Fitness Zone is a registered trademark of The Cooper Institute.

2 HFZ standards applied to the fitness areas are located on the CDE PFT Program Resources Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresources.asp].

3 Used updated HFZ standards for Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition fitness areas.

Table 6:
Estimated Percentage of Grade Five, Seven, and Nine Students
in Healthy Fitness Zone1, 2 (HFZ) by Fitness Areas
for Classes 2013, 2014, and 2015

Fitness Areas

Class of
2013
Grade 5
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2013.
Grade 7
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2013
Grade 9
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2014
Grade 5
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2014
Grade 7
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2014
Grade 9
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2015
Grade 5
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2015
Grade 7
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2015
Grade 9
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Aerobic Capacity

60.2

63.8

64.1

62.7

66.1

61.73

64.2

67.1

62.43

Body Composition

67.4

68.4

71.3

67.9

68.7

59.44

68.4

68.8

59.04

Abdominal Strength

80.6

84.6

87.0

80.2

84.8

87.2

80.6

85.3

87.0

Trunk Extensor Strength

88.2

89.9

91.7

87.9

90.1

92.0

88.2

90.3

91.4

Upper Body Strength

67.1

71.2

77.4

68.5

71.8

77.3

69.6

72.7

76.6

Flexibility

66.6

76.3

82.7

68.1

77.4

83.7

69.6

78.7

84.0

1 Healthy Fitness Zone is a registered trademark of The Cooper Institute.

2 Healthy Fitness Zone standards applied to the fitness areas are located on the CDE PFT Program Resources Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresources.asp].

3 In 2011, The Cooper Institute changed the standards for the Aerobic Capacity fitness area. The Aerobic Capacity fitness area calculates an estimated VO2max (i.e., aerobic capacity) based upon student's age, gender, time or laps, and Body Mass Index.

4 In 2011, The Cooper Institute changed the standards for the Body Composition fitness area to take into account differences in gender and maturation.

Table 7:
Estimated Percentage of Grade Five, Seven, and Nine Students
by the Number of Fitness Areas in the Healthy Fitness Zone1, 2 (HFZ)
for Classes 2013, 2014, and 2015

Number of
Fitness
Areas
in the HFZ

Class of
2013
Grade 5
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2013.
Grade 7
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2013
Grade 9
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2014
Grade 5
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2014
Grade 7
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2014
Grade 9
Percent of
Students
In HFZ3

Class of
2015
Grade 5
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2015
Grade 7
Percent of
Students
In HFZ

Class of
2015
Grade 9
Percent of
Students
In HFZ3

6 of 6

25.6

32.9

38.7

27.1

34.2

36.8

28.5

35.0

36.5

5 of 6

26.4

26.4

27.4

26.3

26.5

22.6

26.6

26.8

22.9

4 of 6

20.5

18.1

15.9

20.2

17.8

19.3

19.6

17.8

19.1

3 of 6

14.0

12.1

9.6

13.7

11.5

12.2

13.2

11.2

12.0

2 of 6

8.2

6.6

5.0

8.0

6.4

5.9

7.7

6.1

6.0

1 of 6

3.7

2.8

2.2

3.6

2.7

2.4

3.4

2.5

2.5

0 of 6

1.5

1.1

1.1

1.2

1.0

0.9

1.0

0.7

1.0

1 Healthy Fitness Zone is a registered trademark of The Cooper Institute.

2 Healthy Fitness Zone standards applied to the fitness areas are located on the CDE PFT Program Resources Web page [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresources.asp].

3 In 2011, The Cooper Institute changed the standards for the Aerobic Capacity and Body Composition fitness areas.

# # # #

Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5206, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

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