November 20, 2015
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Physical Fitness
Test Results Show Students Mostly Holding Steady
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that the percentage of students who met the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) performance standards in all six areas declined slightly but mostly remained stable this year, according to the results of the 2014‒15 Physical Fitness Test.
"The release of these results is a good reminder that all parents and role models need to encourage children to eat nutritious foods and exercise regularly," said Torlakson. "Students need to be healthy to succeed in the classroom and beyond."
More than 1.3 million students in grades five (455,897), seven (439,476), and nine (441,730) took the FITNESSGRAM® during the 2014‒15 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 decreased compared to the last two years. Overall, approximately 26.4 percent of students in grade five, 32.5 percent of students in grade seven, and 37.6 percent of students in grade nine scored at the highest levels, called the 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 continued to improve in Aerobic Capacity from 2013 to 2015, 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 16th 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 2014–15 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 Testing Web page.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100