1. Parenting
Catherine Holecko

Information instead of comparison

By September 17, 2012

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Do you remember taking the Presidential physical fitness test when you were a kid? I certainly recall my old nemesis, the Flexed-Arm Hang (what girls did instead of pull-ups), and how I could never qualify for any kind of award or recognition. The test hasn't been updated for more than 20 years, but it has now undergone a makeover.

First up, the name: it's now called the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, which implies a longer term effort instead of a quick snapshot. The focus has changed, too. The President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, which oversees the program, has redesigned it to assess kids' health, not their "athleticism."

"The move from recognizing athletic performance to health-based standards is a crucial step forward," wrote Jayne Greenberg, the district director of physical education and health literacy for Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida and a member of the President's Council, in a blog post at Fitness.gov.  "[The new standards] emphasize personal fitness goals and minimize comparisons between children. It isn't about who is the fastest or the strongest. It is about healthy kids and lifelong physical activity," she continued.

To me, this sounds much more useful and motivating than always coming in last in that darn flexed-arm hang. What do you think?

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