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Burbank students lagging physically

February 16, 2000

Irma Lemus

BURBANK -- Burbank students are in poor physical condition and younger

students are in worse shape than their older counterparts, according to

results from the district's annual fitness exam.

While the news is discouraging, Burbank students are not alone, said

Jon Olin, who coordinates the district's B Fit physical fitness test.

Test results in Burbank mirror those compiled in a statewide evaluation

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program, he said.

"Our test reflects a trend of students not being fit," Olin said.

Burbank's test, which is performed each spring is similar to the state

Department of Education's Fitnessgram test, Olin said. However, Burbank

tests third- through- twelfth-grade students while the state evaluates

students in the fifth, seventh and ninth grades.

The district tests students on cardiovascular endurance, strength and

flexibility, Olin said. In general, students in Burbank lack upper body

strength and endurance, he said. Overall Burbank students were strongest

in the trunk and lower body.

Olin said students in worst shape are those in elementary school. They

ranked poorest compared to middle and high school students.

"They don't don't exercise as much as they should. Maybe it's because

they don't do chores -- little things like taking out the trash build up

strength," Olin said.

Many Burbank students were unable to meet recommended standards for

physical fitness, Olin said. For example, a typical fifth grade girl

should be able to run a quarter of a mile in one minute and 56 seconds

and complete eight push ups. A fifth grade boy is expected to run a

quarter mile in one minute and 37 seconds and do at least 15 push ups.

At Walt Disney Elementary School, only three fifth-grade boys out of

18 could do the recommended number of push ups. For girls, it was two out

of 11. At William McKinley Elementary School, nine out of 34 fifth-grade

boys met or exceeded the recommended number of push ups along with 14 out

of 56 girls.

Olin said the students had a hard time completing the exercises

because they don't get enough exercise in their daily lives. The fact

that elementary schools do not have physical education teachers adds to

the problem, he said.

"It doesn't take a lot of strength to click the T.V. remote on," Olin

said.

Caroline Brumm, Burbank district coordinator of student and program

evaluation, said Burbank has conducted its own test for about 8 years.

Burbank has not been required to report its results to the state because

it had its own test.

However, starting next school year, Burbank and every other district

in the state will be required to take part in the state physical fitness

test. The results will be reported to the Department of Education to be

included in a statewide analysis, Brumm said. Burbank will Burbank will

continue to give its own fitness test as well, she said.

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