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Institute of Medicine: Gym Class Tests Like “Sit-And-Reach” Not Worth It

Sarah Kliff from Wonkblog reports:

They find, in a 230-page report out Thursday, that as many a middle school student may have long suspected, there’s barely any evidence that most of these tests predict better health outcomes later in life.

“The committee’s review of the scientific literature revealed that studies on fitness measures for youth often were not designed to answer questions related to understanding the relationships between fitness measures and health across all ages, genders, and racial/ethnic populations.”

The committee came out especially strong against flexibility tests, things like attempting to touch one’s toes while sitting — the dreaded “sit and reach,” that has vexed many inflexible eighth graders. Due to a “lack of evidence for an association between flexibility tests and health outcomes,” it recommends against “including such tests” in any national guidelines for physical fitness testing.

Sit-ups, a measure of “musculoskeletal fitness,” also don’t fit the criteria for actually measuring that form of muscular fitness properly, the Institute reports.

All I remember is that Middle School Gym Class was fucking terrible. And that, by High School, they stopped caring and let us play Badminton all day.