Physical education can play a critical role in helping children establish a foundation for an active lifestyle. There is reason to believe the impact of COVID-19 eliminating compulsory physical education in the K-12 setting only exasperated the problem of increasingly physically unhealthy children in the United States. Much of what kinesiology and public-health scholars know about the fitness level of American youths are based on dated or retrospective data; FitnessGram has emerged as a viable option for revealing the present-day physical health of youth populations. There is clear potential for FitnessGram data to contribute to advancing knowledge about current levels of health-related fitness in youth. In this study, researchers using FitnessGram data from an independent K-12 school district in Texas, USA (ISD) investigated K-12 students’ fitness levels and patterns after the COVID-19 pandemic. Results indicate students suffered diminished cardiovascular fitness levels during COVID years (2020-2021), but not diminished strength and endurance or range of motion. Findings from FitnessGram data advocate for quality and compulsory physical education and movement/physical activity in school settings, as well as the adoption of Comprehensive School Physical Activity Promotion (CSPAP).
KeywordsCOVID-19, FitnessGram, Physical Education, CSPAP, Health-Related Fitness Model, Sport Pedagogy,
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