The Texas Youth Fitness Study

Looking at school policies as they relate to physical fitness and academic variables

In partnership with three universities, the Cooper Institute in Dallas, completed the Texas Youth Fitness Study from 2008 to 2009. The study explored three key questions:

  • Is physical fitness associated with academic performance?
  • Can physical education teachers collect high-quality information on student fitness?
  • Are school policies and environments associated with youth fitness?

To answer those questions, researchers analyzed data from fitness tests of students in grades 3 to 12 across the state. School districts must collect and submit these data to the Texas Education Agency.

Key Findings

In a 2010 supplement to the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, project researchers reported:

  • There are small but consistently positive associations between fitness and academic achievement and attendance. There is an inverse association between fitness and negative school incidents.
  • Teachers can conduct reliable and valid assessments of student fitness. Parents, teachers and administrators can trust the information they receive.
  • Socioeconomic status plays a role in determining differences in student fitness across schools and deserves more study.
  • Fit adolescents feel confident about their physical abilities and positive about their shape and size.