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Santa Monica-Malibu Students More Physically Fit Than Peers Statewide


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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

December 20, 2016 -- Compared to the previous year, physical fitness scores among students in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) were up in 2015-16 for fifth-graders, down for seventh-graders and slightly higher for ninth-graders, according to results released by the State on Monday.

The results of the California Physical Fitness Report also show SMMUSD students did better than their peers both statewide and countywide.

Students in the three grade levels were tested in six categories of fitness--aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk extensor strength, upper body strength and flexibility.

The goal in each category was to reach a standard called the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ).

A little more than half (52.4 percent) of SMMUSD fifth-graders last school year met the HFZ standards in all six fitness categories. This was a large increase from the previous year when 41.9 percent of fifth-graders accomplished this feat.

Among the SMMUSD seventh-graders, 45.2 percent met HFZ standards in all six categories in 2015-16. This was down from 51.1 percent the previous school year.

For ninth-graders, the results in both years were almost identical, with 53.5 percent meeting all HFZ standards in 2014-15 and 53.7 doing so the next year.

Compared to their peers throughout the county and the state, SMMUSD students were significantly better fit.

Meeting the HFZ standards in all six categories countywide were 23.4 percent of fifth-graders, 29.1 percent of seventh-graders and 34 percent of ninth-graders.

Throughout California, complete HFZ success was met by 25.9 percent of fifth-graders, 32.1 percent of seventh-graders and 36.7 percent of ninth graders. This was a small drop from 2014-15.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement that the results remind adults they need to send a message to children that "good nutrition, proper rest and exercise are key ingredients for success in the classroom and in life."

He added, "One of the best ways to do that is by eating healthy foods and exercising so we can serve as role models for healthy living, not only for the sake of our children, but also for the future health of our communities and our state."

Among the district’s high schools, Samohi had an edge over Malibu High School at the top end.

Just under 55 percent of Samohi ninth-graders met the HFZ standards in all six categories. For Malibu High, it was 49.7 percent. Olympic High was not included in the test.

Among seventh-graders, Lincoln had the highest achievers, with 56.8 percent meeting HFZ standards in all categories. The percentage doing that at Malibu High School (where middle school students attend) was 47.7 percent. And at John Adams it was 32.5 percent.

Nearly 54 percent of Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) seventh-graders met the HFZ standard in all categories

The fifth-grader breakdown for full HFZ achievement was Point Dume (92.3 percent), Webster (66.7 percent), John Muir (66.7 percent), McKinley (64.1 percent), SMASH (60 percent), Roosevelt (57.2 percent), Edison (51.9 percent), Grant (50 percent), Franklin (45.9 percent) and Juan Cabrillo (14.3 percent).

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