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RUNNING SHORT ON FITNESS VALLEY KIDS MOSTLY FAIL STATE TESTS.

Byline: Karen Maeshiro Staff Writer

PALMDALE - Most Antelope Valley schoolchildren who were tested last year failed state standards for physical fitness, a state report released Monday showed.

Youngsters in the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District were the top local performers, with 43.7 percent of fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders meeting or exceeding the fitness standards.

That number topped the state average of 26.6 percent. The lowest performing local district was Antelope Valley Union High School District, where 16.3 percent of the students tested met the fitness benchmarks. The state Department of Education released results of last spring's physical fitness testing of California's fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders.

Students were deemed physically fit if they met standards in six categories measuring aerobic capacity, percentage of body fat, abdominal strength and endurance, trunk strength, upper body strength and overall flexibility.

Students were tested in different activities, including a one-mile run or walk; stomach curl-ups; push-ups; pull-ups; trunk lifting; and sit-and-reach exercises.

``I am pleased to announce the 2005 physical fitness test scores show some forward movement with a 3 to 4 percent increase in overall performance,'' state schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell said in a written statement.

``But there are still far too many students failing to reach even minimal levels of physical fitness. A silent epidemic of obesity and poor nutrition is endangering our children's health and their ability to learn. This physical fitness test is just one more reminder that we need to rededicate our commitment to turn this trend around,'' O'Connell said.

State law requires school districts to administer annually a physical fitness test, designated by the state Board of Education, to all fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders.

In 2004-05, 1,374,283 students in California were tested. Of those, 365,755 met six out of the six fitness standards.

An analysis by the state education department comparing 2001 results of physical fitness testing with standardized test scores showed a significant relationship between academic achievement and fitness.

Also scoring above the state average were Westside Union School District, where 29 percent of students tested met six out of six fitness standards; Wilsona School District, where 31 percent met all minimum standards; and Muroc Joint Unified School District, where the figure was 39.6 percent.

In the Southern Kern Unified School District, 26.1 percent of students met the mark.

In the Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union School District, 23 percent of students met the standards. In the Keppel Union School District, that figure was 21.8 percent.

In the Eastside Union School District, 17.3 percent, or 111 fifth- and seventh-graders of the 640 tested, met the six-out-of-six standard.

A total of 730 fifth- and seventh-graders in the Lancaster School District, or 21.4 percent, met all six of the fitness standards.

In the Palmdale School District, 879 of the 4,753 tested, or 18.5 percent, met all six fitness standards.

There was no fitness report available for the Mojave Unified School District.

Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744

karen.maeshiro(at)dailynews.com

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Photo:

(color) Students at Amargosa Creek Middle School in Palmdale run laps on Monday.

John McCoy/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 22, 2005
Words:522
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