"West Virginia has made tremendous improvement in the fitness level of its students," Dr. Marockie said. "This progress occurred because of the quality of our physical education instructors and a greater emphasis on overall fitness by schools."
According to Dr. Marockie, 40 percent of the 225,000 West Virginia students taking the test during the 1998-99 school year qualified for the Health Fitness, National or Presidential recognition levels, compared to just 17 percent five years ago.
Doddridge County, with 63 percent of its students qualifying for recognition, was the top performing county in the state. Hardy and Randolph counties showed the greatest one-year improvement. Each county reported a 14 percent improvement in students who qualified for recognition.
"We've made tremendous progress in the past five years, but we have room to improve," Dr. Marockie explained. "We can help children enjoy longer and healthier lives by encouraging them to be active."