LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District aren’t doing so well when it comes to fitness, compared to students across the state, according to figures released by the California Physical Fitness Test.

Among LAUSD’s 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.

The good news is that those numbers remain consistent with the district’s students who took the test last year.

The bad news is that LAUSD’s results lag behind statewide tallies. Across California, 25.5 percent of fifth-graders fulfilled all six fitness criteria, along with 32.4 percent of seventh-graders and 36.5 percent of ninth-graders. The statewide numbers remain consistent with the previous year’s students.

About 1.34 million students 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 visited Muir Elementary School in Santa Ana Wednesday to join students in playground exercises.

“Well, its not enough when only one-third of the students in the state of California who are taking these tests are meeting the mark on all six areas, so we need to improve that,” Torlakson said.  “I’d like to see it go up to 40 percent, 50 percent and then 60 percent.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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