The Childhood Obesity Landscape in Texas
The Reshaping Texas interactive maps offer a multi-layered view of the childhood obesity crisis in Texas. Using school district level 2012 FITNESSGRAM® Body Mass Index data, the maps identify where the highest risk groups are located in Texas. Of the more than two million children statewide who participated in the FITNESSGRAM® in 2012, 54.3 percent achieved a Healthy Fitness Zone® rating, leaving 45.7 percent who are at some risk or high risk for obesity. One in three students measured in the high-risk category.
School District FITNESSGRAM® Results At a Glance
The map below provides a snapshot of FITNESSGRAM® results for BMI as measured by participating Texas school districts. In Texas, BMI data is not available for school districts that do not report FITNESSGRAM® data, administer a different body composition test, or too few students in the grade or district are measured for BMI and the information is not made public to avoid unintended disclosure of personally identifiable information. Click on the image below, then point and click on a Texas school district to see associated BMI data. Use the interactive mapping tool to see other related data and measures.
The Comptroller will use the mapping tool to analyze FITNESSGRAM® results and identify practices and factors that improve health.
We welcome the assistance of researchers, school administrators and concerned citizens in this important effort. Let us know how you're using the FITNESSGRAM® mapping tool on our share page.
Healthy Fitness Zone® for Body Mass Index (BMI)
FITNESSGRAM® Healthy Fitness Zone® (HFZ) standards for Body Mass Index (BMI) vary by age and gender. The BMI cut-points between HFZ and “Needs Improvement – Some Risk” range from 16.8 to 25.2. Levels include:
- Healthy Fitness Zone®: Students with scores that fall in the HFZ are considered as having a body composition that is sufficient for good health.
- Needs Improvement – Some Risk zone: Students with scores in the “some” risk category receive a message saying that they can reduce potential future health problems if they try hard to move into the HFZ.
- Needs Improvement – High Risk zone: Students with scores in the “high” risk category receive a message warning them that staying in the high risk zone increases the probability of potential future health risks.
Developed by The Cooper Institute in 1982, FITNESSGRAM® is a youth fitness assessment and reporting program. In school year 2008, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) implemented the FITNESSGRAM® in public schools in response to a new legislative requirement that school districts must assess annually the physical fitness of Texas third through twelfth grade students.
FITNESSGRAM® consists of health-related physical fitness tests that assess aerobic capacity, muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, and body composition. While some physical fitness tests focus on athletic performance, FITNESSGRAM® tests focus on criterion-referenced standards for health-related fitness, which means that they are based on levels of fitness required for good health rather than on averages or peer comparisons. Each student’s score is compared to Healthy Fitness Zone® (HFZ) standards developed by the FITNESSGRAM® Scientific Advisory Board, which is composed of physical activity and fitness scientists and practitioners. The HFZ standards are age- and gender-specific, and allow for changes in growth and maturation.
Students and parents can determine if the BMI, which is one of the FITNESSGRAM® body composition standards, falls in the HFZ range by going to the FITNESSGRAM® look up tables.
The FITNESSGRAM® was revised in 2010-2011. The new HFZ body composition cut-points for BMI appear in the chart below.
|Previous BMI standards||20 to 20.7||21 to 27.3|
|New BMI standards||16.8 to 25.2||16.8 to 25.2|
*Unit of measure for BMI is kg-m2
Revisions to the FITNESSGRAM® also included making a change to the fitness zone categories. Previously, there were just two zones—Healthy Fitness Zone® and Needs Improvement. Now the Needs Improvement zone is subdivided into a Needs Improvement-Some Risk and Needs Improvement-High Risk making it possible to provide children and parents with more effective and specific information on health risks.
See FITNESSGRAM® standards for details.
FITNESSGRAM® Data Limitations
- In Texas, FITNESSGRAM® data is available in aggregate form and not by individual student thus limiting data analysis to measuring associations and not causal relationships.
- FITNESSGRAM® revised body composition and aerobic capacity standards in 2010-2011. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) does not recommend comparing 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 school year FITNESSGRAM® data with data compiled after the standards were revised.
- FITNESSGRAM® data is only available for reporting school districts.
- For school years 2008 through 2010, Texas required all students to take a comprehensive physical fitness assessment—the FITNESSGRAM®. In 2011, the 82nd Legislature changed PE testing requirements to include only students enrolled in a course that satisfied the PE curriculum requirements.
As a result, only elementary school students (grades prekindergarten through grade five), which have a daily physical activity requirement, are now required to take the FITNESSGRAM® every year. Middle school students—grades six, seven and eight—now take the FITNESSGRAM® test in four out of six semesters that PE is required. Since only one credit of PE is required for graduation, Texas high school students are no longer required to take an annual FITNESSGRAM® test if they are not enrolled in a PE course. Students in athletics, drill team, marching band, cheerleading and JROTC programs, which count as a PE credit, take the FITNESSGRAM®.
Comptroller GIS Maps
- In Texas, FITNESSGRAM® data is collected by school district, campus, grade, and gender, but the Comptroller’s GIS map does not break out the information by gender or campus.
- The Comptroller’s GIS map includes information for only one of the FITNESSGRAM® health-related physical fitness tests—body composition.
- Only one of the two FITNESSGRAM® body composition standards—the body mass index (BMI)—is included in the Comptroller GIS map. Percent of body fat is excluded. BMI is the more commonly used measure for monitoring the prevalence of overweight and obesity.