November 6, 2014
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Releases Physical Fitness Test Results Showing California Students Becoming More Fit
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that the percentage of students who met the Healthy Fitness Zone performance standards in all six areas continued to climb this year, according to the results of the 2013‒14 Physical Fitness Test.
"It's encouraging to see our students becoming more fit and healthy," said Torlakson. "Students have to be healthy and alert to succeed in the classroom, in college, and in their careers, but also to lead a more fulfilling life. That's why it is so important that all of us—teachers, parents and community leaders—teach our children the importance of eating right, and exercising regularly and following healthy lifestyles ourselves so we can serve as role models."
More than 1.3 million fifth, seventh, and ninth graders took the FITNESSGRAM® during the 2013‒14 school year (Table 1)—a series of six separate tests that measure aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength, and flexibility.
In all three grades the percentage of students who performed all six tests at the highest level increased compared to the last two years. Overall, about 26.6 percent of fifth graders, 33 percent of seventh graders, and 38.1 percent of ninth graders scored at the highest levels, called the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ). This represents levels of fitness that offer protection against diseases resulting from sedentary living (Table 3). The multi-year comparison is available on (Table 4).
Torlakson, an avid runner and former high school cross country and track coach, demonstrated his commitment to fitness by launching a Team California for Healthy Kids initiative shortly after taking office. The initiative brings together educators, community leaders, athletes, and other celebrities to help schools offer healthy choices to students.
Students also improved in Aerobic Capacity, one of the six areas assessed annually and is considered among the most important gauges of health (Table 2). Aerobic Capacity is the ability to perform large muscle, high-intensity exercise for prolonged periods
Please note that the HFZ performance standards for the Body Mass Index (BMI), one of the three body composition test options under Body Composition, were updated for the 2013‒14 fitness assessment period. Thus, current Body Composition scores cannot be compared to previous years.
This is the 15th year for reporting physical fitness test results in California public schools. The program was first authorized in 1976 and reestablished in 1995 by Assembly Bill 265. The following year, the State Board of Education designated FITNESSGRAM® as the required physical fitness test to be administered to students in grades five, seven, and nine.
The 2013–14 physical fitness results for schools, school districts, counties, and the state are available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Physical Fitness Test Results Web page. More information is also available on the CDE Physical Fitness Test Web page.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100