BMI measurements have finally been removed from PE Fitness Testing

PE+students+gain+experience+in+a+variety+of+sports+year-round%2C+and+participate+in+fitness+testing+1-2+times+in+a+school+year.+

Winnie Einhorn

PE students gain experience in a variety of sports year-round, and participate in fitness testing 1-2 times in a school year.

Winnie Einhorn, Staff Writer

As the third quarter draws to a close, long-awaited PE assessments have been recently administered. As Woodside’s freshmen and sophomores navigate strength gauging examinations such as the pushup test, the trunk lift, and the mile, many students have noticed that they have one less requirement to fill: a BMI test. 

The process of removing the BMI (also known as Body Mass Index) test became a long and tedious process, as an individual school could not change their testing policies until they were changed by the state. However, due to the anxiety that weight-related testing inflicted upon PE students, it was clear that the test needed to go. 

“Maybe ten years ago we started trying [to remove the test], but the district said no because it was a requirement by the state,” PE Department Chair Laura Perdikomatis said. 

The Body Mass Index is no longer recognized as a necessary measure of health, as PE teachers hope to emphasize strength and flexibility over-weight. After so many years of administering the BMI test, teachers have noticed harmful patterns in their students, many of which were caused by anxiety around their height and weight. 

“There was some concern [such as] in Carlmont, there were some teachers saying that students were trying to lose weight to pass [the test] and it was just terrible. Finally, thankfully, the state took it out,” Perdikomatis said. 

The purpose of fitness testing is to give teachers a way of gauging whether their students are physically healthy. Cardiovascular strength, physical strength, and flexibility are all important aspects of a student’s fitness. 

“I tell my students that ‘passing’ the mile tells… the health of your heart and lungs,” Perdikomatis said. “So… if your heart and lungs are unhealthy at fifteen [years old]… you want to start thinking about ways to make them healthy. 

However, it has become clear that the BMI test does not fit into the category of tests to measure physical fitness. 

“If people are… losing weight to pass it, [that’s not healthy],” Perdikomatis said. “As a PE teacher, we definitely want students to be healthy.”