|A great idea that has never really been implemented|
Out of curiosity, I looked up the test standards and I'm rather impressed with it. Covering many aspects of fitness, kids have to really focus their physical activities towards the skills covered to pass their age standard. There is also a test for adults which is rather easy but could be a fun program to mix into your daily exercise regimen. I wonder what percentage of kids by age group even attempt the challenge these days and what percentage can meet the age group standards? Probably not high percentages in either case, but I don't think the numbers for kids when I grew up in the 1980's were much better.
|Pullups are a key movement for determining overall fitness|
China seems to have a stronger focus on the health and wellness of its people than what we see from our government here (maybe the critics during the Eisenhower administration were right!). On a recent trip, I saw publicly available outdoor fitness equipment with clear usage instructions throughout the cities that we visited. Cities organize morning tai chi sessions in public parks and hold line dancing in the evenings. Bike riding used to be just for transportation, but now is becoming a fitness pursuit for middle class Chinese people. The Chinese culture honors athletics while we tend to prioritize games. Because of all this, my bet is that Chinese kids are on average stronger, faster, leaner, and healthier than American kids.
|Outdoor playground for adults in Shanghai, China|
I think institutionalized laziness has woven itself into our cultural framework. Play and games are viewed as just for kids. Without a sport to train towards, many former athletes stop training all together. Fitness as a goal in itself is growing as a movement, but our national waistlines still continue to grow. We spend our time and money on what we prioritize highest. 30-60 minutes per day for developing physical health awareness would be energy well spent for all ages. The earlier we start, the easy it is to make fitness a life long habit.
Kids learn whatever we teach them; what are we teaching them about their health?