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Education

San Diego County 9th Graders Outperform Peers In Statewide Physical Fitness Test

Kyla Calvert
Students at Kellogg Elementary School stretch before the schools first annual year-end fitness fair in Chula Vista, May 26, 2011.

Ninth-graders in San Diego County outperformed their peers statewide on the California Physical Fitness Test and improved in some areas over last year, according to figures released Thursday.

More than 1.3 million students in the fifth, seventh and ninth grades statewide took the fitness test, which measures their health in six categories — aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk strength, upper body strength and flexibility.

Among fifth-grade students in San Diego County tested during the 2013-14 school year, 29.3 percent fulfilled all six fitness criteria, along with 38.6 percent of seventh-graders and 45.6 percent of ninth-graders, according to the California Department of Education. The figures are a few points higher than last year for each age group.

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Statewide, 26.6 percent of fifth-graders, 33 percent of seventh-graders and 38.1 percent of ninth-graders landed in the "Healthy Fitness Zone" by meeting all six standards.

Students in the San Diego Unified School District lagged behind the state averages in the fifth and seventh grades, while the older children performed much better.

In the San Diego Unified School District, 26 percent of fifth-graders, 30.9 percent of seventh- graders and 47.3 percent of ninth-graders were in the Healthy Fitness Zone.

"It's encouraging to see our students becoming more fit and healthy," said Tom Torlakson, state Superintendent of Public Instruction. "Students have to be healthy and alert to succeed in the classroom, in college and in their careers, but also to lead a more fulfilling life."

Torlakson, a former high school cross country coach, began the campaign to get athletes, community leaders, public health advocates, parents, teachers, and students to help youngsters increase physical activity, and improve access to fresh fruit, vegetables and drinking water.