Act 256, authored by Senators Cheryl Gray-Evans and Yvonne Dorsey, was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal on July 1, 2009. The Act designates the Picard Center as the collection and data analysis center for health-related physical fitness assessments of Louisiana’s children.
Among the agencies collaborating in this initiative are the Picard Center, the Louisiana Department of Education, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and the Louisiana Council on Obesity Prevention and Management.
The fitness assessment is part of the physical activity component of the Coordinated School Health initiative. Quite simply, it is a health-related physical fitness assessment that compares students to health fitness standards, rather than each other.
The fitness assessment includes an individualized report that evaluates a child’s personal level of fitness. The report is sent home to parents and guardians, and this parent report tool increases awareness of children’s fitness levels. The fitness report also provides objective feedback and positive reinforcement, which are vital to changing behavior.
Six Subtests of the Fitness Assessment
• PACER (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run)
• Trunk Lift
• Shoulder Stretch
• Body Mass Index (BMI)
Why Conduct Fitness Assessments as part of Coordinated School Health?
• Conducts research linking health to student academic and behavioral outcomes
• Provides a comprehensive view of child’s fitness levels instead of focusing only on weight status
• Informs parents about health profile of their child(ren)
• Informs teachers, principals and members of the parish school board about fitness levels
• Allows for easy referral of at-risk children to health care for interventions
• Can be used to improve the overall health of schoolchildren
• Can be used to support policy changes, through data, to increase physical activity and health education in schools
The Picard Center, along with its partners, offers the following services to school districts:
• Provides fitness assessment trainings to Physical Education teachers and related staff;
• Provides technical assistance in assessments/intervention;
• Helps to obtain WELNET test kits and software;
• Provides summary reports to schools/parishes; and
• Assists in implementing interventions related to childhood obesity issues.
Call Dr. Joan Landry, Fitness Assessment Project Director, at (337) 482-1554 to discuss your interest in implementing fitness assessments in your school district.
Act 256 Reports
Download reports from partners of the Act 256 initiative. These reports include findings from the fitness assessment administration in Louisiana, next steps, and recommendations.
Act 256 September 2010 Report (.pdf)
Act 256 December 2009 Report (.pdf)
Coordinated School Health Initiative (CSH)
Louisiana’s Fitness Assessment
University Partnerships for Health
Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS)
Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
School Health Infrastructure
School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs)