New method of testing physical fitness helps students meet goals

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Talk to any national children's health advocate and they will tell you America's children are dangerously obese. Of course not every child falls into that category, but it has reached epidemic proportions.

Michael James has been a physical education teacher for nine years, and said he's seen evidence of poor diets and more.

"I see that our children have a sedentary lifestyle," said James. "They have trouble getting up off the ground unassisted."

And as for the new test?

"I like it. It tests the children's ability to be able to perform on a cue to a cadence," he explained. "So I plan cadence for the children, and they have to do what the cadence says."

The test measures four areas: aerobic cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength and endurance, abdominal strength and endurance, and flexibility.

"The old way, the test was over after 60 seconds," said James. "Everyone participated in a 60 second test. This test can be much shorter."

He said that's because when you correct the child twice, the test is over. This new method of testing is an opportunity for teachers to make sure their students make their goal.

All students, statewide, are being pre-tested and post tested to measure their progress.

Meanwhile, James encourages his students to be active, even while they are not in school.

"I tell them on Friday, if the only time you're playing is on Friday, and the next time you play is on Monday, something's wrong," he said.

And if they follow that instruction, it's hoped Alabama school children can get out of the bottom 10 percent of nationwide activity profiles.

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