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Elementary Student Fitness Levels Improve
AUSTIN — A greater percentage of elementary school students achieved "healthy zone" benchmarks this year, according to results of the third round of fitness assessments established under 2007 legislation authored by Texas State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound.
Gains were measured for students in grades 3-8. At the high school level, the percentage of students who met target levels on all six tests declined slightly from the previous school year.
"The improvements for our younger students are encouraging, but overall fewer than a third of Texas students recorded overall physical fitness," Senator Nelson said. "The high school results are alarming and show why this is a bad time to be cutting PE requirements."
Senator Nelson has authored legislation in several sessions that resulted in increased physical education requirements for elementary and middle-school students. In 2007, with the passage SB 530, Texas became the first state to conduct annual fitness tests.
The assessments measure body composition, aerobic capacity, strength, endurance and flexibility. About 2.9 million students participated this year with a wide range of results, the highest being 37.27 percent of 3rd grade girls designated in the "healthy zone" and the lowest being 12th grade girls at 8.07 percent. (Complete three-year results are available here.)
"These annual fitness assessments clearly show that we must get back to the basics of ensuring the health of our children by promoting nutrition, fitness and overall health in our schools," she said.
SENATOR JANE NELSON represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services.