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.
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.