South Carolina FitnessGram Data for the 2016-2017 school year was released. We already know that weight and cardiorespiratory fitness are important to their health (current and future) of K-12 students. So, with great concern, we learn that over one-third of S.C. students were overweight or obese, and nearly one-half performed below the recommended level for cardiorespiratory fitness. We also found that children in poverty were at the highest risk for lesser fitness status (including being overweight/obese and having low cardiorespiratory performance capacity). It will take a concerted effort by those who care for children in the home, early childhood care and education centers, 5K-12 schools, community organizations and business decisionmakers, health care centers and community leaders to provide environments that support our youth in being physically active and eating healthy! Help make the healthy choice the easy choice!
School age youth need 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day. Most of that time should be moderate or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, with the vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week. Those 60+ minutes of physical activity should also include muscle-strengthening physical activity at least 3 days of the week. Incorporate stretching exercises into the daily routine before, during, and after physical activity to keep joints and muscles flexible to help avoid injuries. It is important to encourage young people to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.
The SC FitnessGram project is a statewide effort to evaluate and ultimately improve health-related fitness among S.C. public school students. The project involves the aggregation of health-related fitness data from public schools using a statewide FitnessGram software system. Physical education teachers administer six FitnessGram test items to students enrolled in physical education (PE) classes in grades 5, 8 and in the high school PE course required for graduation. Height and weight only is measured in grade 2. FitnessGram is the most widely used fitness test protocol in U.S. schools, and it is completed annually by over 10 million children nationwide. This statewide system also provides a way to manage and report data at the local school level to assist parents, teachers, schools and districts in providing fitness information that can strengthen fitness education, testing, and improve student health and academic achievement.
See the https://scaledown.org/fitnessgram/ website to view materials that have been developed at the state level for advocating for healthier lifestyles for school-age children including a “Take Action for Kids” one-page resource.