In the 1950s, research showed Americans were out of shape and in poor health compared with their counterparts in Europe. In response, President Eisenhower formed the President's Council on Youth Fitness — to investigate the findings and mount a national response. When President Kennedy took office, he made improving the nation's fitness a top priority of his administration. In 1960, he wrote an op-ed in Sports Illustrated, declaring, "in a very real and immediate sense, our growing softness, our increasing lack of physical fitness, is a menace to our security." In response in 1966, the Presidential Physical Fitness Test was created. The original test was designed to encourage and prepare young Americans for lifelong fitness by testing their agility, muscular strength / endurance, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. There are two different awards that students can test for, for the National Fitness Award participants must meet established criteria in all 5 events in order to qualify for this award. These levels represent the 50th percentile for healthy Americans at their age based on the 1985 School Population Fitness Survey. Students who achieve these standards are awarded a patch for their success; The second award is the Presidential Youth Fitness Award, this award is earned if the student is able to achieve the determined level of fitness in all 5 categories, these levels represent the 85th percentile of ability for their age based on the 1985 School Population Fitness Survey. Students who achieve this level of fitness are awarded a patch and a certificate for their success. Below you will see the specific standards and what a student would need to complete to earn an award.
National Youth Fitness Award
Presidential Youth Fitness Award
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