Article #1: 57% of Teens Flunk Fitness Tests by Mike Feinsilber, A.P.
Fewer than half the youngsters in America are able to meet physical-fitness standards that should be attainable by the average healthy youngster, a study of test results showed yesterday.
Moreover, in some categories, the average older American teenager can’t perform as well as he or she could at an earlier age, the analysis said.
For example, the average 15-year-old boy takes 13.3 seconds to sprint 100 yards while his 14-year-old counterpart can do it in 12.6 seconds. The typical 17-year-old girl can do only 38 modified pushups in two minutes, compared with 43 performed by an average 12-year-old girl.
Dr. Wynn F. Updyke, associate dean for graduate studies at Indiana University’s School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, attributed the fallout or leveling off after age 14 to the fact that many schools drop compulsory gym and physical education after the eighth grade.
The findings were based on a random sampling of 7,600 youngsters, taken from tests given tour million children during the last two school years.
The physical-fitness testing program is sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union with underwriting from Nabisco Brands, Inc. Updyke said in future years the results would show whether American youngsters are becoming more or less physically fit.
“Although the basic standards are designed to be attainable by the average healthy youngster in each age and sex group, only 43 percent of participants were able to achieve them during the 1979-80 and 1980-81 academic years,” according to a summary of the study.
Updyke said there were no significant differences in test results by geographic region and the scores in 1980-81 were no better or worse than those the previous year.
Updyke said the standards for what the average healthy youngster should be able to do in tests were
based on AAU testing that goes back 39 years.
The results show that at age 14, the average boy does 43 bent-knee situps in a minute, 38 pushups in two minutes, makes a 6-foot-3-inch standing long jump and a 3-foot-10-inch high jump, runs a mile in 9 minutes, 37 seconds and sprints 100 yards in 14.7 seconds.
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