Texas Tests Students’ Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is becoming a very important part of our society. We are becoming more and more aware of the health risks to being overweight. Concern is rising as we have more obese school children. As reported in a previous article the new television series, “Shaq’s Big Challenge”, is being directed at getting children in shape. With Shaq’s help, Florida is beginning to implement physical fitness among its schools and citizens.

In addition to Florida becoming more health conscious, Texas has also decided to get its children into shape. The state will be the first to test all of its school children on their physical fitness. Children trough grade twelve will be tested. Some other states test specific groups of children.

The test will determine the child’s aerobic endurance, body fat, flexibility, and muscle strength. The testing tool will be the Fitnessgram, which the TEA officials will be spending about $2.5 million dollars on. The tool was created by Kenneth Cooper, a Dallas doctor.

Students will be scored in comparison to other children who are the same age and sex as them. They must score equal to or above the 80th percentile or be in the top 3 of their peers to pass. Students may be excused from the test with a doctor’s note. Parents can contact the school to find out how their child scored.

As of now, there will be no consequences for students who fail the test. The results will be used to compare how health affects academics, attendance, and discipline.

While about one and one third million of Texas’s school age children are overweight, statistics show that only two thirds of the total students were taking a PE course in 2005.

The new Texas law says that elementary age children must have at least 30 minutes of PE a day. Some feel that even more Physical Education course time is needed.

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