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Physical fitness provides an indication of a child’s physical capabilities. Routine tests allow educators and parents to monitor physical fitness over time. Overall, physical fitness serves as a proxy measure for health status (e.g. cardiovascular health).

Why does physical fitness matter?

Physical Fitness                                                             INC

Definition:

The proportion of children and youth satisfying physical fitness criteria including cardio respiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, explosive strength, and healthy body composition.

The grade of incomplete (INC) indicates that there was insufficient information available to assess this indicator.

There is evidence that schools in India employ measures of physical fitness using a variety of tests and exercise regimens. Physical fitness includes six components: cardio respiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, explosive strength, and body composition (e.g. percentage of body fat). Fitness levels are assessed using a fitness program composed of a variety of tests and exercise regimens, e.g. sit-ups (# per minute), sit and reach (centimetres), modified pull up (# completed), mile run (minutes: seconds), 4x10 metre shuttle run test, standing vertical jump, standing broad jump, and measurement of height and weight (to calculate BMI).

The Total Physical Fitness Program from Kerala schools, as well as programming provided by private organizations, indicates that overall physical fitness among children is poor. In Kerala, approximately 15% of children were classified as physically fit and they demonstrated a modest improvement (1.5%) after one year of the fitness program implementation. Data from one private organization that provides physical activity programming in schools indicated that 1 in 5 children (n=148,054) did not have adequate ‘endurance capability’ and 1 in 4 did not have ‘desired flexibility’.

However, independently collected nationally representative data are needed to ascertain a grade for the indicator of Physical Fitness.