Healthy Beginnings / Increasing Childhood Fitness

Increasing Childhood Fitness2021-03-26T05:37:00+00:00

Are California kids  physically fit?

Childhood fitness is measured by the percentage of physically fit children, who score 6 of 6 on the required California school FITNESSGRAM® test. The six-part test is used to evaluate levels of fitness that offer protection from diseases related to inactivity. For children, it is important to develop an active lifestyle in the early years of life, since habits from early childhood through adolescence may influence habits in adulthood.1

Childhood Fitness (5th Graders)

In 2011 (baseline school year), 25.2% of 5th graders scored 6 of 6 on the required California school FITNESSGRAM® test. The most recent data available show 23.1% (2019). We hope to reach a target of 36.0% or higher by 2022.

Read More

More Data

Baseline

25.2%

Current Rate

23.1%

Target

36.0%

Childhood Fitness (7th Graders)

In 2011 (baseline school year), 32.1% of 7th graders scored 6 of 6 on the required California school FITNESSGRAM® test. The most recent data available show 28.2% (2019). We hope to reach a target of 46.0% or higher by 2022.

Read More

More Data

Baseline

32.1%

Current Rate

28.2%

Target

46.0%

Childhood Fitness (9th Graders)

In 2011 (baseline school year), 36.8% of 9th graders scored 6 of 6 on the required California school FITNESSGRAM® test. The most recent data available show 33.0% (2019). We hope to reach a target of 52.0% or higher by 2022.

Read More

More Data

Baseline

36.8%

Current Rate

33.0%

Target

52.0%

Percentage of Physically-fit Students (as Defined by FITNESSGRAM® Test), Over Time

Percentage of Physically-fit Students (as Defined by FITNESSGRAM® Test), by Demographic Category

Download the Data Visualization Help

Percentage of Physically-fit Students (as Defined by FITNESSGRAM® Test), by County

Download the Data Visualization Help

|

Indicator: Percentage of “physically fit” children, who score 6 of 6 on the required California school FITNESSGRAM® test

Description: California Education Code Section 60800 requires Local Educational Agencies to administer the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) annually to students in grades five, seven, and nine. The designated PFT is the FITNESSGRAM®. The test evaluates six fitness areas: 1) Aerobic Capacity, 2) Body Composition, 3) Muscle Strength, Endurance and Flexibility, 4) Trunk Extensor Strength and Flexibility, 5) Upper Body Strength and Endurance, and 6) Flexibility. The test is scored based on criterion-referenced standards to evaluate fitness. A passing result in all six areas (6/6) of the test represents “a level of fitness that offers some protection against the diseases associated with physical inactivity.” Recent data (2014) indicates that only about one-third of California’s students obtained passing scores in the six test areas. The fraction of children obtaining passing scores is even lower among African American, American Indian Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and Latino children, and among economically disadvantaged children.

Data Limitations: The test is only administered to children in public schools; it is unknown if the type of school (public, non-public) could affect the test scores. The indicator is a conservative estimate of fitness level in children attending public schools since only those children passing the 6 fitness areas are included. Students who are physically unable to take the entire test battery are given as much of the test as conditions permit; their results are included in the data files. Students that repeat a grade must retake the exam. Frequently asked questions about the test can be found at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf. Some children might attend schools outside the boundaries of the school district where they reside. The FITNESSGRAM® criterion-referenced standards have changed in the years 2005, 2010, and 2013. Data collected in the following year to the change is affected and comparisons over time must be done with caution. The “Multiple” race/ethnicity group is only available starting in 2010-2011.

Indicator Source: California Department of Education (CDE) Physical Fitness Testing (PFT) Program research files, http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pftresearch.asp

Indicator Calculation Methodology:
Numerator: number of children scoring 6/6 on FITNESSGRAM®; Denominator: number of children tested; Percent: numerator/denominator*100 (Note that counts of 10 or fewer have been suppressed to protect confidentiality.)

Data Collection Methodology: Information from: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/. “The State Board of Education designated the FITNESSGRAM® as the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) for students in California public schools. The FITNESSGRAM® is a comprehensive, health-related physical fitness battery developed by The Cooper Institute. The primary goal of the FITNESSGRAM® is to assist students in establishing lifetime habits of regular physical activity. Public school students in grades five, seven, and nine are required to take the PFT, whether or not they are enrolled in a physical education class or participate in a block schedule. These students include those enrolled in local educational agencies (LEAs) such as elementary, high, and unified school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools. LEAs must also test all students in alternate programs, including, but not limited to, continuation schools, independent study, community day schools, county community schools, and nonpublic schools. Students who are physically unable to take the entire test battery are to be given as much of the test as his or her condition will permit. (Education Code (EC) Section 60800 and the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 1041).”

Program URL Link: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/HealthyCommunityIndicators.aspx

Geographic Granularity: School District

Reporting Cycle: Annual

Reporting Lag: One school year, which spans two calendar years

Indicator Source Changes: The indicator source has not changed but modifications to the FITNESSGRAM® criterion-referenced standards were implemented in the years 2005, 2010, and 2013. Data collected in the following year to the change is affected and comparisons over time must be done with caution

1. Backman, D., Lee, P., & Paciotti, B. (2013). Health Disparities in the Medi-Cal Population. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from www.dhcs.ca.gov: http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/dataandstats/Documents/HealthDisparities.pdf

Share Your Story

Want to engage in moving the dial on Healthy Beginnings? Share your impact story!

Submit Your Story