School-based fitness programs will enter a new era in 2014, when a new assessment called the Presidential Youth Fitness Program replaces the 24-year-old Physical Fitness Test. The program will emphasize health over performance and will use FITNESSGRAM® — a Cooper Institute program that promotes lifelong physical activity via a variety of health-related physical fitness tests that assess aerobic capacity, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition.
The new school-based fitness program is a partnership between the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; the Amateur Athletic Union; The Cooper Institute; and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to AAHPERD, the major goals of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program will be to help students understand their fitness data analysis and improve and/or maintain their physical well-being; to develop cognitive concepts about fitness assessment and interpretation of results; and to monitor and reinforce student learning and achievement in reaching personal fitness goals. Professional development opportunities and education materials to help P.E. teachers safely and effectively implement the program will be available, and efforts will be made to help parents better understand the benefits of physical activity for their children.
“We want every physical education teacher in this country to help children and their parents to understand the health-related fitness outcomes and to assist in the development of individual fitness plans,” AAHPERD’s CEO Paul Roetert said in a statement. “To keep fitness in a positive mode, children’s individual fitness scores will not be used as a criteria for grading in physical education class and will be confidential between the teacher, student and parent. Through the new Presidential Youth Fitness Program, physical education teachers will have access to the necessary tools they need to help children develop healthy lifestyles that will optimize their health and educational experience beyond the school years.”
Among its first contributions to the new program, AAHPERD will coordinate a free “Presidential Youth Fitness Program 101: Understanding the Basics” webinar at 1 p.m. (EST) Tuesday, Sept. 25. It will be followed by more free monthly webinars about different aspects of the program. All webinars will be archived.
Athletic Business is an internationally known magazine created 35 years ago and devoted to the sports industry. AB Managing Editor Michael Popke joined the publication in 1993.