Prevalence and Correlates of Physical Fitness Testing in U.S. Schools—2000

Authors: Morrow, James R.; Fulton, Janet E.; Brener, Nancy D.; Kohl, Harold W.

Source: Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 1 June 2008, vol. 79, no. 2, pp. 141-148(8)


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Because of the perceived lack of youth physical fitness and/or concerns for increased obesity, physical education teachers are interested in youth fitness and physical activity levels. Statewide mandates are being developed that require school-based teachers to complete physical fitness testing. Data from the nationally representative School Health Policies and Programs Study 2000 were analyzed to investigate the prevalence of fitness testing and the professional characteristics of fitness test users. Data were collected with teachers of either randomly selected classes in elementary schools and randomly selected required physical education courses in middle/junior high and senior high schools (N = 1,564). The prevalence of fitness test use is 65% across all school levels. Variables associated with physical fitness test usage were professionally oriented. Results showed that teachers in secondary schools (odds ratio [OR] = 2.25, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.18–4.27), those with degrees in physical education/kinesiology-related disciplines (OR = 2.01, 95% CI = 1.11–3.63), and those who had completed staff development on physical fitness testing (OR = 3.22, 95% CI = 1.86–5.60) were more likely than respondents without these characteristics to engage in physical fitness testing. Results changed little when separate analyses were conducted for classes/courses in districts requiring versus not requiring fitness testing. Financial variables, including fitness-oriented facilities available, metropolitan location, and discretionary expenditures per student, were not associated with fitness test use. Results provided national prevalence of school-based physical fitness testing use in the U. S. and conveyed information about those who currently use physical fitness tests.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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