This Press Release was issued in Recognition of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month.
According to the American Heart Association, the prevalence of overweight children and adolescents has almost quadrupled since the 1980s, while research consistently shows that many of today’s youth are leading an increasingly automated and sedentary lifestyle. As one of the nation’s leading youth organizations, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is recognizing National Physical Fitness and Sports Month (May) by encouraging youth to increase their levels of physical activity in their daily lives, as well as hosting a Stars & Strides 5K Run/Walk during their National Annual Meeting, May 28, 2005.
For nearly a century, the BSA has been known for fostering an environment of physical fitness for the youth of America. Boy Scouts take an oath that “On my honor I will do my best … to keep myself physically strong.” As part of its ongoing Good Turn for America program, the BSA is urging American youth to look to physical fitness and participation in sports for entertainment, rather than more sedentary choices like television, computers, and video games. Since its inception, the BSA has awarded nearly 17 million physical fitness-related badges.
“It was not so long ago when young people spent hours playing outside and were involved in a host of physical fitness and sports activities, and young people were much healthier than today,” said Roy Williams, Chief Scout Executive of the BSA. “For 95 years the BSA has encouraged youth to get more involved in physical activity, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month gives us an excellent chance to revisit that commitment.”
Through the Good Turn for America program, the BSA encourages Scout troops and other volunteers to offer community- and school-based sports and fitness clinics. These can include supervised physical fitness testing; a day or weekend hike; a fun run/walk/cycle event, such as the Stars & Strides 5K Run/Walk; or Scout-organized field games.
Among the BSA’s multiple health-, nutrition-, and fitness-related awards is the BSA Physical Fitness Award, which is based on seven components of fitness. The BSA encourages Americans of all ages to focus more attention on their physical health and well-being, and offers the following insights on conducting a physical fitness test based on its seven components of fitness (more information is available at www.scouting.org):
Posture can be evaluated with a posture-rating chart. Compare a photo of your starting posture, noting the different body segments.
Measure your accuracy with the target throw. Make 20 throws with a softball at a circular target; score is based on the number of times the target is hit.
Get a fair assessment of your strength using the sit-up. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor; cross your arms on your chest with hands on the opposite shoulders. Have a partner hold your feet to keep them on the floor. Curl to the sitting position until the elbows touch the thighs. Arms must remain on the chest and chin tucked on the chest. Return to the starting position, shoulder blades touching the floor. Your score is the number of sit-ups made in a given time.
Measure agility using the side step. Starting from a center line, sidestep alternately left and right between two lines eight feet apart. Your score is based on the number of lines crossed in 10 seconds.
The dash is used to measure speed. The score is the amount of time to the nearest half-second running a set distance that can be increased each year.
The squat stand is used to measure balance. Squat with hands on the floor and elbows against your inner knee. Lean forward until your feet are raised off the floor. The score is the number of seconds held in that position.
The squat thrust is used to measure endurance. Start from the standing position to perform the four-position exercise. Score is based on the number of completed squat thrusts made in a given time.
Serving nearly 4.1 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training.