Kenneth Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., founder of the Cooper Institute, creator of the FITNESSGRAM® test battery, calls for quality physical education programs.
Schools are an important setting for youth obesity prevention efforts especially through changes to school lunches and physical education (PE) programs. While most students achieve health-related fitness standards, fitness levels are lower for older students over the three years of testing in Texas. The most important age-related declines were in cardiovascular fitness, a dimension with strong health-related consequences.
The passage of Senate Bill 530 brought attention to the importance of youth fitness in Texas. Mandatory physical fitness testing will not make students more fit. Only quality PE programs can. PE plays an important role in reducing obesity, increasing longevity and reducing health care costs.