Fitnessgram Program Overview
Fitnessgram is a fitness assessment and reporting program for youth, first developed in 1982 by The Cooper Institute in response to the need for a comprehensive set of assessment procedures in physical education programs. The assessment includes a variety of health-related physical fitness tests that assess aerobic capacity; muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility; and body composition. Scores from these assessments are compared to Healthy Fitness Zone® standards to determine students' overall physical fitness and suggest areas for improvement when appropriate.
The Healthy Fitness Zone standards are not based on class averages or any other peer comparisons. They are criterion-referenced standards that are based on levels of fitness needed for good health. The standards are set specifically for boys and girls of various ages using the best available research. The Healthy Fitness Zone standards were established by the Fitnessgram Scientific Advisory Board, which includes some of the foremost scientists and practitioners in fitness and physical activity.
Fitnessgram/Activitygram is software published by Human Kinetics. The software provides an efficient way for schools and other organizations to perform effective fitness and physical activity assessments on children, provide appropriate feedback to children and parents, and maintain accurate and comprehensive records over time.
A key feature of the Fitnessgram software is its ability to generate printed reports for each student (a parent version of the report can be generated, too). The Fitnessgram report defines the recommended range of fitness for each test measure—the Healthy Fitness Zone. When a child's score falls within the Healthy Fitness Zone, it means the child has achieved a level of fitness associated with being healthy. Teachers and administrators can also generate more advanced statistical reports on the health and fitness of all their students.
The Fitnessgram report provides information about the student's level of physical fitness in an easy-to-read format. More important, the report provides personalized suggestions that can help in planning an individualized fitness plan.
The FITNESSGRAM assessment items include the following:
Aerobic Capacity--may select one option
- PACER test
- One-mile run/walk
- Walk test (ages 13 or older)
Muscular Strength, Endurance, and Flexibility
- Abdominal strength and endurance (curl-up)
- Trunk extensor strength and endurance (trunk lift)
- Upper body strength and endurance (choose from push-up, modified pull-up, and flexed arm hang)
- Flexibility (choose from back-saver, sit-and-reach, and shoulder stretch.)
Body Composition--may select one option
- Percent body fat (calculated from triceps and calf skinfolds or entered from an alternative measuring device)
- Body mass index (calculated from height and weight)
Fitnessgram reports communicate fitness goals to students and parents
The Fitnessgram report is available as a student report and a parent report. The student report recommends physical activity program options to help students make it into the Healthy Fitness Zone for those areas where they need improvement. The parent report contains the same information on scores, but is addressed to the parents. Both reports explain in nontechnical terms why physical activity is important and how regular physical activity leads to improved health and fitness. Both Fitnessgram reports are a tangible reminder of what students learn in class and a great way to enlist parents' support in their children's physical activity programs.