Overview of the Texas Youth Fitness Study

In 2007 the Texas legislature voted to mandate statewide physical fitness testing on all students in grades 3 through 12. The legislation (SB 530) grew out of five forces driving assessing children and youth health behaviors:

  1. Increasing levels of childhood obesity
  2. Perception of declining physical fitness levels
  3. Reduced physical activity behaviors in children
  4. Less time available for school physical education
  5. Interest in the relation between academic achievement and physical activity

The Texas Youth Fitness Study involved research collaboration with the Cooper Institute, Iowa State University, the University of Illinois and the University of North Texas, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The nine articles that follow from the Special Supplement of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport reflect four disciplines:

Epidemiology—these articles describe the distribution of fitness test results across the state and the relationship between fitness test scores and academic indexes.

Measurement and evaluation—this article examines the reliability and validity of using teachers in large-scale testing.

Pedagogy—these articles examine teacher behaviors and the relations between school policies and environment and youth fitness achievement.

Psychology—this article looks at the psychosocial variables associated with body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness.