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Mixed Results for Berkeley Students in State Fitness Tests

The chart shows the percentage of fifth graders with a body composition score (body fat percentage) classified in the "needs improvement – high risk" category in the 2012-13 school year.

Photo by Getty
Photo by Getty
Nearly 30 percent of Berkeley ninth graders were overweight in the last school year, compared to about 26 percent statewide, according to test results released today, Wednesday, by the state Department of Education

At the same time, slightly less than a fourth of Berkeley seventh graders were overweight, compared to slightly more than 30 percent statewide. 

The state's annual "Fitnessgram" physical fitness tests for fifth, seventh and ninth graders found Berkeley students with many above-average scores and many below-average scores in the six categories measured: aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength, and flexibility.

In aerobic capacity, for example, 71.3 percent of fifth graders were in the "Healthy Fitness Zone," compared to 64.4 percent statewide, but among ninth graders, the percentage in the Healthy Fitness Zone in every category was below the state average.

The results also included what percent of each grade were in the Healthy Fitness Zone for all six categories. Statewide, it was 25.5 percent of fifth graders, 32.4 percent of seventh graders and 36.6 percent of ninth graders. Berkeley was close to the state averages for fifth and seventh grades but lagged in ninth grade, with 26.9 percent of fifth graders scoring in the Healthy Fitness Zone for all six categories, 32.6 percent of seventh graders and 21.1 percent of 9th graders.
 
Carrie Strong-Thompson, a state Department of Education specialist in the tests, cautioned that the body composition category is a rough estimate since most schools measure it using height and weight charts, which can put a fit football player, for example, outside the Healthy Fitness Zone boundaries.
Abigail Surasky October 24, 2013 at 11:47 AM
It would be interesting to compare this chart to a chart graphing poverty levels for the same group of towns.

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