Santa Clara County fifth-grade students need to shape up, a recent report revealed.
According to the new California Physical Fitness Test scores, the fitness level of Santa Clara County fifth graders decreased in 2011-12 from a year earlier and they now trail their like-aged counterparts from throughout the state by a little more than 3 percent. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released the figures on Nov. 15.
Across the state, only 25.3 percent of fifth-grade students posted healthy scores in all six areas of the 2011-12 tests. In Santa Clara County, students scored 21.9 percent.
The Mountain View Whisman School District saw 28.5 percent of its students pass in all six categories.
In the Los Altos School District, 49.3 percent of fifth-graders posted healthy scores in all six areas of the test.
Scores for seventh- and nineth-graders in the county remained virtually unchanged year to year. Of these, 33.3 percent of seventh-graders and 42.7 percent of ninth-graders successfully completed all six of the fitness test tasks. That compares with statewide numbers of 31.9 percent and 36.5 percent respectively.
"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."
The test, administered to 1.3 million California students, represented 93 percent of pupils enrolled in fifth, seventh, and ninth grades. In Santa Clara County, 20,315 students took the test.
It used a so-called Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) to indicate if the student's level of fitness sufficed for good health.
To score in the HFZ, the test required that a five-foot six-inch, 150-pound, 15-year-old ninth grade male run a mile within nine minutes, perform at least 16 push-ups, and do at least 24 curl-ups.
The six tests are:
- Aerobic capacity
- Body composition
- Abdominal Strength
- Trunk Extensor Strength
- Upper Body Strength
While aerobic capacity can indicate physical fitness, body composition can also be the most important indicator of who will develop future health problems.
The test results for county schools, school districts, other counties and the state can be found on the California Department of Education Web site.
This chart show a 2011-12 district-by-district comparison, with the percentages of fifth-graders from each Silicon Valley school district that completed six of the six fitness standards, and five of the six fitness standards.
2011-2012 Santa Clara County Physical Fitness Report
District by District Comparison
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