Who doesn't love the old question: "You want the good news or the bad
news first?" It is one of those phrases that neatly defines people,
as surely as another old phrase does: "There are two kinds of people:
Those who think there are two kinds of people and those who don't."
This time around, we're going to go with the good news initially:
Newport-Mesa students are more fit than their fellow Californians.
The bad news? They still aren't very darn fit.
According to the annual 2003-04 California Physical Fitness Test,
30% of Newport-Mesa's 4,487 fifth-, seventh- and ninth-grade students
met its standards, which include the Jack La Lanne-sounding aerobic
capacity, body composition, abdominal strength, trunk-extension
strength, upper-body strength and flexibility.
We're a little tired just writing all that.
Across the state, 27% of students met the basic health goals.
On the individual tests, more Newport-Mesa students proved their
mettle: Some 70% of them passed the endurance run, for instance. And
we seem to be a strong group: About 95% of the ninth-graders passed
the trunk-extension strength test.
But that overall 30% passing rate is alarming. With our weather
and all the opportunities for play -- beaches, parks, backyards
(perhaps a diminishing spot for sports) -- it surely seems our
children should be fitter.
So put down the Pilot and go play catch with that kid parked in
front of the TV.