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LESS THAN A THIRD OF TEXAS STUDENTS HIT "HEALTHY ZONE" BENCHMARKS
AUSTIN -- Elementary students performed better than students in higher grade levels, but overall less than a third of Texas students hit "healthy zone" benchmarks in the first round of fitness assessments established under SB 530 authored by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound. The results were announced today at a news conference at the Texas Capitol.
"These results confirm what many of us already knew. Our children's health is in jeopardy," she said. "We cannot allow an entire generation of Texans to grow up and live shorter lives than the previous generation. But it will happen unless we get back to the basics of ensuring basic health in our schools with a strong focus on fitness and nutrition."
Until 2001 when Senator Nelson authored legislation calling for daily exercise in grades K-5, Texas' PE requirement was limited to 1.5 credits needed for graduation. SB 530, approved by the Legislature last session, expanded the requirement to middle school and instituted annual fitness assessments for students grades 3-12.
This year Texas became the first state to conduct such tests, which measured body composition, aerobic capacity, strength, endurance and flexibility. About 2.6 million students participated with a wide range of results, the highest being 32.09 percent of 3rd grade girls designated in the "healthy zone" and the lowest being 12th grade girls at 7.82 percent.
Later this fall, an additional round of results will be announced, showing correlation with academics, attendance, discipline problems. Also appearing at today's news conference were Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education, and Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder of the renowned Cooper Clinic in Dallas, and former Houston Oilers quarterback Cody Carlson.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, which includes parts of Tarrant and Denton counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee.