The students of the Stephenville Independent School District (SISD) have been tried and tested throughout the 2007-08 school year and the results of one of the many tests, the Fitnessgram, were presented to the school board by Assistant Athletic Director Mike Carroll last week. Carroll said across the district, more girls met the standard in each of the areas tested except one.

The Fitnessgram is a series of tests administered to measure aerobic capacity, body composition, muscular strength, endurance and flexibility. The tests are administered to evaluate students’ performance against healthy fitness standards based on age and gender.

To test aerobic capacity, students participated in a mile run, mile walk or pacer test depending upon grade level. Upper body strength was tested through pushups, flexed arm hangs or modified pull-ups. Students also underwent curl up tests, trunk lift testing and sit and reach tests. Finally, each student’s Body Mass Index (BMI) was evaluated.

“Females scored better district wide in every category except the sit and reach, which tests flexibility,” Carroll said.

District wide, 85 percent of females tested met the minimum standard for aerobic capacity while only 73 percent of boys in the district made the mark. Likewise, the girls showed greater upper body strength with 82 percent meeting the standard compared to the 67 percent of males. Carroll said 77 percent of girls in the SISD met the standard for body mass index, while only 65 percent of boys measured up. A one percent margin is all that separated the girls and boys on curl ups with 93 percent of the girls and 92 percent of the boys holding strong. In the trunk lift, 95 percent of females and 92 percent of males made the grade. Finally, the boys beat out the girls in the sit and reach with 88 percent of the males meeting the standard and 81 percent of females doing the same.

Law mandating the Fitnessgram, Senate Bill 530 (SB 530), was passed during the 2007 legislative session and requires that all students in grades 3-12 be tested - the SISD opted to test all students.

The goal of the fitness gram as explained at the website for the Texas Education Agency, www.tea.state.tx.us, is to benefit students by increasing public awareness of quality physical education programs, emphasizing the importance of community and school-based support of school health programming, and bringing focus on resources and funding for school-based physical activity and health education programs.

In addition, the legislature, through adopting SB 530 in 2007, hoped to strengthen physical education and physical activity programs to ensure health improvement among the students including a gradual reduction in childhood obesity and Type II diabetes.