If recent physical performance tests are a valid indication, high school students in the Long Beach Unified School District are getting more fit. They have improved their performance on California physical fitness tests and have surpassed students throughout Los Angeles County and statewide.
Test results released this month show large gains for local ninth graders. Three years ago, just over half of those tested here — 55.6 percent — met 5 of 6 state fitness standards, which is generally considered the benchmark for healthy fitness. Last year, during the most recent tests, seven out of 10 LBUSD ninth graders — 69.6 percent — met the standards.
Physical fitness areas tested include aerobic capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, tensile extensor strength, upper body strength and flexibility. In comparison, only 59.9 percent of the students in L.A. County met the same standards. Statewide, 62.7 percent of California’s students met the standards.
In local elementary schools, students here also surpassed both L.A. County and California results on fifth grade physical performance tests. In middle schools, students here outperformed L.A. County but were about one point below statewide results. By ninth grade, that gap was eliminated with local students significantly outpacing their counterparts countywide by nearly 10 points and statewide by approximately seven points.