Finding the right fit in Newport-Mesa

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.

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