Published: Sept. 11, 2012

New national fitness program aimed at keeping kids active

Contact(s): Jason Cody Media Communications office: (517) 432-0924 cell: (734) 755-0210

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition has announced they are phasing out their Youth Fitness Test, which dates back to 1966, and replacing it with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.

The new program adopts an assessment called Fitnessgram, which minimizes comparisons between children and instead supports students as they pursue personal fitness goals for lifelong health. It assesses cardiovascular fitness, body composition, muscle strength, muscular endurance and flexibility.

Joe Eisenmann, a member of the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in the Department of Radiology’s Division of Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition, played a key role in helping develop Fitnessgram’s cut-off points, which determine if a child is in the healthy fitness zone or needs improvement. He is a member of the scientific advisory board for Fitnessgram.

Additionally, Department of Kinesiology professors Jim Pivarnik and Karin Pfeiffer both work with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

“Whenever we can draw national attention to physical activity and fitness for children, it’s a good thing,” Eisenmann said of the council’s announcement in Washington, D.C. “The old test being used didn’t have scientific support; here we used an evidence-based approach to better gauge fitness levels.”

The Presidential Youth Fitness Program includes three components: research-based assessment tools; professional development, training and resources for teachers, parents and students; and recognition for participation. For more information on the program and the announcement, go to


Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

Joe Eisenmann is with the Division of Sports and Cardiovascular Nutrition and the Spartan Nutrition and Performance Program in the Department of Radiology and College of Osteopathic Medicine. Photo courtesy of MSU.

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