San Diego students score above statewide average on physical fit - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego students score above statewide average on physical fitness tests

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EL CAJON (CNS) - More than half of fifth- seventh- and ninth-grade students in San Diego County were deemed healthy, based on the results of their physical fitness tests, state education officials announced Wednesday.

Statewide, only 31 percent of students passed all six areas of the tests, the officials said at a news conference at Grossmont High School.

The testing examined aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk-extension strength, upper-body strength and flexibility. Students around San Diego generally scored three or four percentage points higher than their counterparts statewide.

At least 66 percent of San Diego-area students performed well in all areas except body composition -- the percentage of body fat.

About 55 percent of local fifth graders, 59 percent of seventh graders and 63 percent of ninth graders passed the body composition test. Results were similar for students in the region's largest district, the San Diego Unified School District.

Statewide, 34 percent of fifth graders, 30 percent of seventh graders and 25 percent of ninth graders statewide were considered to be at high risk in the body composition test.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and former NBA star Bill Walton encouraged schools to get involved in the Team California for Healthy Kids campaign.

"Today's results are clear -- when only 31 percent of children are physically fit, that's a public health challenge we can't wait to address," Torlakson said. "That's where our Team California for Healthy Kids campaign can make a world of difference, by helping make healthy choices the easy choices, at school and beyond."

Torlakson, a former high school cross-country coach, launched the campaign to get athletes, community leaders, public health advocates, parents, teachers, and students to help youngsters increase physical activity, and improve access to fresh fruit, vegetables and drinking water.

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