View of school gymnasium in the sun

Children’s Fitness Levels Show Deterioration Since 1990s, Says Czech School Inspectorate

The tests were carried out on children in 3,700 elementary schools and 1,100 secondary schools. Photo credit: Freepik.

Prague, April 18 (CTK) – Today’s children have deteriorated in endurance running compared to schoolchildren from the 1990s, but are achieving similar results in the long jump and sit-ups, according to a study by the Czech School Inspectorate (CSI).

The results of the physical fitness assessments, which were carried out last year at most primary and secondary schools in the Czech Republic after about 30 years, were presented yesterday by Education Minister Vladimir Balas (STAN) and chief school inspector Tomas Zatloukal.

In autumn 2022, the inspectors compared the results of pupils in the third and seventh grades of primary schools and in the second year of secondary schools in four motor tests. The tests were carried out on children in 3,700 elementary schools and 1,100 secondary schools, in endurance running, sit-ups and long jump.

The measurements showed that about 6% of third graders and 10% of primary school seventh graders were deficient in physical fitness. For secondary school students, as many as 15% had problems with all of the physical activities tested.

Girls are worse off in terms of fitness. Only 3% of girls among the primary school seventh graders and secondary school second graders managed the endurance shuttle run without problems, compared with 9% of primary school third graders. However, running is causing problems for boys as well. Compared to the schoolchildren who underwent the same exercises in the 1990s, inspectors observed a marked deterioration in today’s children in all age groups surveyed.

On the other hand, the results of primary school pupils in strength activities are comparable to those of children in the past, noted Zatloukal. In this school year, 11% of female students and 17% of male students in secondary school managed to perform push-ups of optimal quality.

Based on the results of the measurements, the inspectorate is recommending that schools focus on developing positive attitudes among their pupils towards physical activity. Inspectors say teachers should include movement in subjects other than physical education and create space for active breaks. The Ministry of Education, in turn, should pay systematic attention to promoting physical fitness among schoolchildren, according to the CSI.

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