Los Angeles Unified School District fifth-, seventh- and ninth-graders fared slightly worse on the California Physical Fitness Test than their counterparts statewide, according to figures released Wednesday.
The approximately 110,500 Orange County students tested were in about the same shape as last year with about 38.5 percent posting healthy scores in all six areas, compared with 38 percent in 2012.
Among LAUSD fifth-graders tested during the 2012-13 school year, 18.7 percent fulfilled all six fitness criteria, along with 21.4 percent of seventh- graders and 28.4 percent of ninth-graders, according to the California Department of Education.
Those numbers were generally consistent with LAUSD students who took the test last year, when the results were 18.8 percent for fifth-graders, 22.7 percent for seventh-graders and 28 percent for ninth-graders.
The LAUSD's results for 2012-13, however, lagged behind the statewide tallies. Across California, 25.5 percent of fifth-graders fulfilled all six fitness criteria, as well as 32.4 percent of seventh-graders and 36.5 percent of ninth-graders.
Orange County's students performed above the state average with "Healthy Fitness Zone" scores of 31 percent for fifth-graders, 41 percent for seventh-graders and 43 percent of ninth graders.
Orange County educators noted a significant difference in children from poorer homes as compared with wealthier students. The average of indigent students passing the fitness test was 27.5 percent, compared with 51.4 percent from their more privileged classmates.
The statewide numbers were also consistent with the previous year's students.
About 1.34 million students 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.
"The simple fact is that healthy kids learn better," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said
"I'm pleased to see the slow shift toward better health continue, but when only about a third of our students are physically fit, we are nowhere near the end of this effort. To help them succeed in school and in life, California's young people need more access to physical activity, fresh, fresh, healthy food and clean water."
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.- City News Service