The physical fitness of elementary and junior-high school students has significantly improved in the past 10 years after a majority of school districts across the nation listed it as a factor to be considered for high-school enrollment, the Sports Administration said on Thursday.
Students in school districts that consider physical fitness test results a factor in the high-school admission process are fitter than those from districts that do not, it said.
To understand changes in students’ physical fitness, the agency last year tasked National Sun Yat-sen University with analyzing 19.36 million physical fitness test results collected from students in ninth grade and below between the 2009 and 2018 school years.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
The physical fitness test examines a student’s body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio, as well as performance in standing long jump, bent-knee curl-ups, sit-and-reach and running or walking (1,600m for junior-high school boys, 800m for junior-high school girls, 800m for elementary-school students), it said.
The standing long jump tests a student’s power, while bent-knee curl-ups test their muscular strength and endurance. Sit-and-reach and running or walking test their flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness respectively, it said.
“The data gathered in the past 10 years show that students are faring better in physical fitness tests, with dramatic improvements shown in cardio-respiratory fitness tests. This shows that more students have developed workout habits,” Sports Administration Deputy Director-General Lin Che-hung (林哲宏) told a news conference.
In the 2017 school year, junior high school boys spent an average of 544.27 seconds running or walking 1,600m, down from 592.01 seconds in the 2009 school year, the agency’s data showed.
Meanwhile, students in school districts that considered physical fitness test results fared better in standing long-jump, 800m and 1600m run or walk, the agency said.
In the 2014 school year, girls in school districts that considered physical fitness test results in high-school enrollment took an average of 276.31 seconds to finish an 800m run or walk, while those in school districts that did not consider test results finished a 800m run or walk in an average of 280.95 seconds, data showed.
“This is a good sign. It shows that more people are aware of the importance of keeping students physically fit,” Lin said.
Of the 15 large school districts in the Comprehensive Assessment Program for Junior High School Students, only greater Taipei (Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung), the Hsinchu-Miaoli district, the Taichung-Nantou district and Taitung do not take physical fitness tests into account during high-school evaluations, the agency said.
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