Budget Conference Committee’s Suspension of Funding for Physical Fitness Testing
Dear Assemblymember Morrell,
I am writing to urge you to reconsider the Budget Conference Committee's action to suspend the requirement for local school boards to administer the annual Physical Fitness Test to pupils in grades 5, 7 and 9.
Left unaddressed the state’s current childhood obesity epidemic will doom children to serious health problems now and in the future and saddle the state's economy with exorbitant and preventable long-term costs. Now more than ever it is important for policy makers to have good long term data to evaluate the continuing effectiveness of interventions for addressing the obesity epidemic.
These physical fitness tests are vital to the fight against childhood obesity for a variety of reasons, including:
• The tests provides individualized information to students and their families about the student’s health-related fitness measures and information about the risks associated with certain health variables such as obesity.
• School use the data to determine the fitness levels of their student population, which shapes curricular development.
• The tests provide important data that helps policy-makers make informed decisions related to physical fitness and childhood obesity.
• The results of this testing provide one of the best and most comprehensive data sources on childhood obesity in the nation.
The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates annual savings of $2.35 million from suspending the PFT. However, this estimate does not take into consideration the negative impact this policy decision will have on state costs related to the obesity epidemic. However, suspending this low-cost mandate will actually cost the state money because it hinders progress in the fight against the obesity epidemic, which, according to research from the California Center for Public Health Advocacy costs California an estimated $41 billion annually for health care and lost work productivity.
Please reconsider your decision. Our children need you!
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