SC FITNESS GRAM

Using data to improve child and adolescent health-related fitness

The SC FitnessGram project is a statewide effort to evaluate and ultimately improve health-related fitness among public school students in South Carolina. The project involves the aggregation of health-related fitness data from public schools using a statewide FitnessGram software system. Physical education teachers administer six FitnessGram test items to students enrolled in physical education (PE) classes in grades 5, 8 and in the high school PE course required for graduation. Height and weight only is measured in grade 2. FitnessGram, the official test of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP), is the most widely used fitness test protocol in U.S. schools with over 10 million children completing the test annually. This statewide system also provides a way to manage and report data at the local school level to assist parents, teachers, schools and districts in providing fitness information that can strengthen fitness education, testing, and improve student health and academic achievement.

The SC FitnessGram project is supported by the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the South Carolina Department of Education. The University of South Carolina serves as the data analysis center for the project. The findings from this project support planning and implementation of evidence-based programs and policies, across multiple sectors, to improve health-related fitness among school age youth.

For more information about the SC FitnessGram project, contact Lynn Hammond, FitnessGram Coordinator at SC DHEC, at 803-898-3076 or hammonld@dhec.sc.gov.

The SC FitnessGram project is a statewide effort to evaluate and ultimately improve health-related fitness among public school students in South Carolina. The project involved aggregation of health-related FitnessGram test data from public schools using a statewide FitnessGram software system. FitnessGram is the most widely used fitness test protocol in U.S. schools, and it is completed annually by over 10 million children nationwide.

FitnessGram was administered by physical education teachers to South Carolina public school students in 2nd, 5th, 8th and high school grades. FitnessGram assesses components of fitness that are known to be related to health outcomes in children and youth. Health-related criteria were applied in assigning performance on each test item to one of three categories: Healthy Fitness Zone, Needs Improvement, or Needs Improvement – Health Risk.

Below are links to the state level aggregate report, executive summary, and one page graphic summary.

The SC FitnessGram project is a statewide effort to evaluate and ultimately improve health-related fitness among public school students in South Carolina. The data shows that 36% of school age youth are either overweight or obese and nearly half did not meet the Healthy Fitness Zone standard for cardiorespiratory fitness. School age youth need 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day! Most of the 60 or more minutes a day should be either moderate or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity and should include vigorous-intensity physical activity at least 3 days a week. As part of their 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity, children and adolescents should include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week. Incorporate stretching exercises into the daily routine before, during, and after physical activity to keep joints and muscles flexible to help avoid injuries. It is important to encourage young people to participate in physical activities that are appropriate for their age, that are enjoyable, and that offer variety.

It will take a concerted effort by those who care for children in the home, early care and education centers, 5K-12 schools, community organizations, health care centers as well as community leaders to provide environments that support students in being physically active and eating healthy!

Below are links to suggested actions for various sectors to support student health-related fitness.

This section features stories from PE teachers, school principals and district administrators about how the SC FitnessGram system is being used and is making a difference with their students.

Coming soon…

This section features links to learning opportunities to build capacity for implementing physical activity and healthy eating strategies to improve the health related fitness of children and adolescents.

This section features resources for home, early care and education, K-12 schools, health care, community organizations, communities and state and local leaders to help provide guidance or support for their efforts to increase healthy eating and physical activity opportunities.

Coming soon…