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280812 Exposure Draft National Physical Fitness Programme





  1. Introduction

A fit and healthy person will live longer, be more productive at work and school, and generally contribute more to the country’s growth and development.  With an increasing prevalence of heart and other cardio-vascular diseases as well as a wide range of health concerns, the importance of leading healthy lives that include a well-balanced diet and an adequate fitness regime that embodies healthy lifestyle habits is imperative.


1.2      As per The World Health Statistics-2012 report released by WHO, one in three adults worldwide, has raised blood pressure and one in 10 adults has diabetes.  Also 12% of the total population are obese. A startling observation of WHO Report-2001, is that major sections of youth (below 25 years) in India are vulnerable to these deadly diseases. In the same Report, WHO also makes a prediction that one out of every three Indians will either be a coronary patient or a diabetic by 2030. This projected population at risk about two decades from now will necessarily be the presently school going children.  Given the fact that, majority of our population are in the youth category below the age of 35 years, WHO’s prediction for 2030 has to be addressed at national level urgently.


1.3      Apart from the enumerated social implication, the same will also have huge financial implications.  As per Report of Working Group on Disease Burden for 12th Five Year Plan WG-3(2) : Non Communicable Diseases – Among non-communicable diseases (NCD), Cardio-Vascular Diseases (CVD) account for 52% of mortality.  The potentially productive years of life lost (PPYL) due to CVDs in the age group of 35-64 was 9.2 million into 200 and is expected to rise 17.9 million in 2030 – again comprising of that segment of the population that is in the school going age bracket currently.  Since the majority of deaths are premature, there is a substantial loss of lives during the productive years in India as compared to other countries.  Heart diseases, stroke and diabetes are projected to increase cumulatively, and India stands to lose 237 billion dollars during the ongoing decade starting 2005.


1.4      Recognizing the importance of sports and physical fitness and close linkages in sports, education and health; sports and physical education form an integral part of a school curriculum to promote all round development of children.  The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports and the Ministry of Human Resource Development have been continuously emphasizing the significance of sports, games, physical and health education for the overall development of children.


1.5      Health, nutrition and fitness are inter related and require an integrated policy approach. Health has a direct impact on all activities, economic or otherwise.  With massive efforts being made to effectively implement the provisions of the Right to Education Act (RTE), 2010, enroll every child below 14 years in school, it would be best if the health and fitness related schemes are implemented through the organized school system.


1.6      School Health Program, a program for school health service under National Rural Health Mission, intending to cover 12,88,750 Government and private aided schools covering around 22 crore students all over India, focuses to address the health needs of children, both physical and mental, and in addition, it provides for nutrition interventions, yoga facilities and counseling.


1.7      Components of School Health Program are screening of general health, assessment of anaemia/nutritional status, visual acuity, hearing problems, dental check up, common skin conditions, heart defects, physical disabilities, learning disorders, behavior problems, referral cards for priority services at District/Sub-District hospitals, immunisation, micronutrient (Vitamin A & IFA) management, De-worming, regular practice of Yoga, Physical education, health education.  It is seen that the School Health Programme is more about general health rather than at improving physical fitness levels of the school going children. 


1.8      The RTE Act emphasizes (i) playground for each school; (ii) part-time Instructors for physical education in upper primary schools; and (iii)  supply of play materials, games and sports equipment to schools.  Apart from this, there exists a massive pool of Physical Training Instructors sanctioned under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.


1.9      In this background, the Conference of the Ministers of Youth and Sports of   States held on 18.11.2011 unanimously passed the following Resolution:

“Games and Sports should be introduced compulsorily as part of curriculum of education in schools at all levels both in Centre and States. Further, one period each day should be allocated for Games and Sports in all schools. The students’ participation should be graded and evaluated at par with other subjects and adequate weightage should be given to participation in Games and Sports. This will encourage sports culture and broad-base Games and Sports.”


  1. Need for Physical Fitness Programme:

2.1      There is no dispute or argument on having a Physical Fitness Programme for people of the country covering all sections of the society, starting from school going children to housewives and old people. Physical fitness initially was needed for survival purposes as “survival of the fittest” was the dictum. Today Physical Fitness is the underline paradigm for social as well as economic well being of the country.  Physical Fitness is all the more important now in view of the technological advancements which have reduced physical activities being performed by individuals to a bare minimum. A stage has now come when adults as well as children are facing diseases which were unheard of by human beings a few years ago. Blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease etc. are prevalent in children of the country.


2.2      It is imperative in light of various projected health indicators as also the current status of physical well-being that this entire issue is looked at from an essentially positive perspective of physical well being and fitness based on inculcation of physical fitness as a voluntary yet compulsory life chore rather than as a redressable health and disease concern.


2.3      Accordingly, there is a need to prepare and formulate a scientific programme and criteria to first motivate and encourage school going children of both sexes to be physically fit and concurrently evaluate their fitness.  It has to be realized that the scheme needs to be motivational rather than coercive and to obtain this, the achievement of fitness by a child has to be rewarded in a manner similar to reward for academic achievement. 


Kerala experience

3.1      The physical fitness status of school children in Kerala was not known till 1995. The sample survey conducted by the Directorate of Sports & YA, Govt, of Kerala in Thrissur district showed that the physical fitness standards of the school children was very low and significantly differed with their age and sex when compared to American Alliance Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and Health Related Physical Fitness Test (HRPFT) standards. Moreover, the abdominal strength and endurance of high school girls showed a decreasing trend when compared with that of lower classes. To tackle this social problem, Govt. of Kerala launched the Total Physical Fitness Program (TPFP) in November 2008, as a joint initiative of Departments of Education, Sports, Health and LSG through Kerala State Sports Council for boosting of physical fitness status of Kerala school children. Observations with regard to TTFP launched in Kerala are given in the succeeding paragraphs.


3.2      In the academic year 2008-2009, as part of TTFP, health related physical fitness testing was conducted in Kerala state schools in classes’ five to nine. A total of 16,28,943 students enrolled in classes five to nine, were administered the Total Physical Fitness Programme: Health Related Physical Fitness Test (HRPFT) in 2008, from 4315 schools representing approximately 73 percent of Kerala State schools. Only 19.61 percent of state school population from classes five to nine was found within the minimum recommended standard on all the test items. During the academic year 2009-10, 23,34,739 students enrolled in classes five to ten, were administered the TPFP HRPFT from 6101 schools representing 91% of Kerala state schools. During that year found that only 14.35% students (1, 98,884 (16.78%) boys and 1,36,189 (11.85%) girls) met the recommended standard on minimum physical fitness. In the year 2010-11, total of 15,65,609 students enrolled in classes five to ten, only participated in Health Related Physical Fitness Test (HRPFT), from 4583 schools representing approximately 49.18 percent of Kerala State schools. 15.56 percent of state school population from classes’ five to ten found within the minimum recommended standard on all the health related physical fitness test items (Boys – 17.89% and Girls-13.23%). Whereas it was only 14% in the previous year (Boys – 16.58% and Girls-11.46%). This shows an increase of 1.56% in overall performance and 1.31% and 1.37% increase in boys and girls respectively.


3.3      It is well known that Kerala enjoys a status of a role model of overall-development making it comparable with developed nations of the world in areas such as health, education and other demographic indices. If the physical fitness level of school children in a state like Kerala is not optimum, as revealed from the statistics presented by TPFP, what the corresponding figures for the rest of the states and the national averages are expected to be less than encouraging.


  1. Components of Physical Fitness

4.1 The six basic components of physical fitness important for good health are:

(i)             cardio respiratory endurance,

(ii)           muscular strength,

(iii)         muscular endurance,

(iv)          flexibility,

(v)           Explosive Strength, and

(vi)          Body composition (percentage of body fat).


  1. Testing Physical Fitness

5.1      There is no particular prescribed methodology or fitness regime for assessing the physical fitness. There are many modules or batteries of tests presently in vogue, which are being used by different organizations and States. As already mentioned above, Kerala has developed Total Physical Fitness programme for its school going children. Likewise, Tamil Nadu and Haryana have also developed batteries of tests for assessing fitness levels of the students. Army and Para-military organizations also prescribe the minimum physical fitness standards at the time of recruitment.  Sports Authority of India (SAI) has also a battery of tests for induction of athletes in its schemes such as Talent Search Contest (NSTC) Scheme, SAI Training Centre (STC) Scheme, Special Area Games (SAG) Scheme.  The schemes and programmes are annexed to this exposure draft.


5.2      However, there is no uniform national battery of tests that could be applied and evaluated throughout the country and therefore national quantification of Physical Fitness would require uniform and standard testing parameters as well as grading system.


5.3 Physical fitness tests and their dimensions as proposed by this scheme are detailed hereunder:

Test Item Fitness Dimension Measures
Sit-Ups (number in a minute) Abdominal strength / endurance
Sit & Reach (cms) Flexibility and low-back musculoskeletal function
Modified Pull-Up (completed numbers) Upper body strength and endurance
Mile run (min: sec)


Cardio-respiratory endurance
04×10 mtr Shuttle Run Test Test of Speed, Body Control and ability to change direction(Agility)
Standing Vertical Jump


Explosive Strength and Power of Legs
Standing Broad Jump





Explosive Strength and Power of Legs and extensibility of Hip muscles
Height (meters) and Weight (kg) Body Mass Index (Body Composition)







Purpose: The purpose of the sit-up is to evaluate the abdominal muscular strength and endurance.

Equipment: Mats or other comfortable surfaces are recommended. Stopwatch or sweep second hand from an electronic wrist watch may be used for timing.

Test Description: To assure the starting position, the students lies on his/her back with knees flexed, feet on floor with the hands on the opposite shoulders. The feet are held by partners to keep them in touch with the testing surface. The student, by tightening his/her abdominal muscles, curls to the sitting position. Arm contact with the chest must be maintained. The chin should remain tucked on the chest. The sit-ups are completed when the elbows touch the thighs. To complete the sit-up the student returns to the down position until the midback makes contact with the testing surface (Figures a and b). When the timer gives the signal “ready go”, the sit-up performance should be started and the performance should be stopped on the command “stop”. The number of correctly executed sit-ups performed in 60 seconds shall be the score.

Scoring : Record the number of correctly executed sit-ups that are completed in sixty seconds.

Administrative Suggestions: It is important that the heels are placed at a proper distance (12 to 18 inches) from the buttocks. Teachers may want to use a measuring stick to ensure that the proper distance is maintained. Partners can be used to count and record each other’s score, but the supervising tester must carefully observe to ensure that the sit-ups are being done correctly. Be certain that the student feet are in contact with the testing surface. This can be ensured by having the partner hold the feet or ankles.





Purpose: The purpose of the sit and reach is to evaluate the flexibility (extensibility) of the low back and posterior thighs.

Equipment: The test apparatus consists of a specially constructed box with a measuring scale where 23 cm is at the level of the feet.

Test Description: To assume the starting position, the students should be asked to remove their shoes and sit down at the test apparatus with their knees fully extended and the feet, shoulder width apart. The feet should be flat against the end board. The arms are extended forward with the hands placed on top of each other to perform the test. The pupil reaches directly forward, palms down, along the measuring scale four times and holds the position of maximum reach on the fourth trial. The position of maximum reach must be held for one second. The test apparatus and testing position are shown in figure a and b.

Scoring: The score is the farthest distance point reached on the fourth trial measured to the nearest centimeter. The test administrator should remain close to the scale and note the farthest distant point touched the fingertips of both hands. If the fingertips reach unevenly, the test should be re-administered. The tester should place one hand on the subject’s knees to ensure that they remain extended.

Administrative Suggestions: Proper warm-up is very important for this test. the warm-up should include slow sustained static stretching of the low back and posterior thighs. The test trial is repeated if :

(1) The hands reach out unevenly or (2) The knees are flexed during 1 trial. At the time of doing the test a partner placing his/her hands lightly across knees can prevent the flexing of knees. Besides, in order to prevent the test apparatus from sliding away from the student during the test, it should be placed against a wall or a similar immovable project.




Purpose: The purpose of the Modified pull-ups test is to test the should strength and endurance.

Equipment: The test apparatus’ consists of a specially constructed horizontal bar that can be positioned at a height that allows the student to clasps the bar with over grasp when lying on the back on a flat surface.

Test Description: The horizontal bar should be positioned at a particular height, which is just reachable to a student, who lies on his/her back 01 flat surface. Then the student should be asked to clasp the horizontal bar with over grasp. When the student is ready, the test leader should give signal “Go”. On hearing the signal “go”, the subject should start to raise the body by flexing the arm until the chin is pulled up to the level of the horizontal bar. Then the student should lower back to the starting position with shoulders touching the ground, this procedure should be repeated as many times as possible. The test will stop when the student pauses for two or more seconds. The testers should ensure that the subject keeps the knees straight during the test.

Scoring: The student’s score is the number of correctly executed pull-ups.

Administrative Suggestions: The core groups should make improvisation of equipment for the safe and proper conduct of the test. Mats can be used for more comfortable execution of the test.


5.3.4. ONE MILE RUN (1600 METERS)

Purpose: The purpose of the one-mile run is to measure maximal functional capacity and endurance of the cardio-respiratory system

Equipment: One mile run can be administered on a 400 metre or 200 metre or on any other flat, measured area.

Test Description: Students are instructed to run one mile in the fastest possible pace. The students begin on signal, “ready, start” as they cross the finish line elapsed time should be announced to the participants. Walking is permitted, but the objective is to cover the distance in the shortest possible time.

Scoring: The one-mile run is scored to the nearest of a second and the performance should be recorded on the individual score card.

Administrative Suggestions: In order to obtain valid and reliable results, students should be adequately prepared for the test. First, assurance should be obtained so that no children with known medical problems, which would contraindicate vigorous exercise, are allowed to take part in the test. Secondly, students should be allowed to practice distance running with emphasis placed on the concept of pace. Most uninstructed children will run too fast early in the test and then be forced to walk during the later stages. Results are usually better if the child can maintain constant pace during most of the run, walking for short periods of time only if necessary, and perhaps using a strong closing effort. Thirdly, students should be properly motivated. Does the participant provide only as good as effort this test, like any other Physical Education tests. The purpose of the test should be fully explained to the students.


5.3.5   04×10 mtr Shuttle Run Test (Cardio-respiratory endurance)

This test measures agility and speed while running between two lines 10m apart.

Purpose: this is a test of speed, body control and the ability to change direction (agility).

Equipment: two wooden blocks for each runner (each block should measure 10 x 5 x 5 cm), marker cones or marking tape, measurement tape, stopwatch, flat non-slip surface, with two lines 10 meters apart.

Test Description : Mark two lines 10 meters apart using marking tape or cones. The two blocks are placed on the line opposite the line they are going to start at. On the signal “ready”, the participant places their front foot behind the starting line. On the signal, “go!” the participant sprints to the opposite line, picks up a block of wood, runs back and places it on or beyond the starting line. Then turing without a rest, they run back to retrieve the second block and carry it back across the finish line. Two trials are performed.


Scoring: Record the time to complete the test in seconds to the nearest one decimal place. The score is the better of the two times recorded. A trial is void if a block is dropped or thrown.


Administrative Suggestions: The blocks should be placed at the line, not thrown across them. Also make sure the participants run through the finish line to maximize their score. In addition to running speed, turning technique and coordination are also significant factors in this test.


5.3.6   Standing Vertical Jump (Explosive Strength)

Purpose :The vertical jump test involves measuring the difference between the standing reach and the height reached at the peak of a vertical jump.

Equipment : A measuring tape, several pieces of chalk, and a smooth wall surface of at least 12 feet from the floor are required.

Test Description : The performer should stand with one side toward a wall, heel together, and hold a small piece of chalk in the hand nearest to the wall, keeping the heels on the floor, he should reach upward as high as possible and make a mark on the wall. The performer then jumps as high as possible and makes another mark at the height of his jump.


Scoring: The distance between the reach and the jump marks is the score. Three attempts are allowed and the best attempt is recorded as the score.


Administrative suggestions :


5.3.7   Standing Broad Jump (Explosive Strength)

The Standing long jump, also called the Broad Jump, is a common and easy to administer test of explosive leg power.

Purpose: To measure the explosive power of the legs

Equipment: Tape measure to measure distance jumped, non-slip floor for takeoff, and soft landing area preferred.   The take off line should be clearly marked.

Test Description: The athlete stands behind a line marked on the ground with feet slightly apart. A two foot take-off and landing is used, with swinging of the arms and bending of the knees to provide forward drive. The subject attempts to jump as far as possible, landing on both feet without falling backwards. Three attempts are allowed.

Scoring :



Administrative suggestions:



5.3.8   Body Composition

Height measured to the nearest cm (recorded in meters) and weight will be recorded to the nearest 0.5 kg

Scoring: BMI can be calculated by formula BMI = weight / (height * height)

BOYS Age 10 Age 11 Age 12 Age 13 Age 14 Age 15 Age 16 Age 17+
BMI 14 -18 14.5-18.5 15 -19 15.5-21 16 -21.5 16.5-21.5 17 – 22 17.5-22.5



GIRLS Age 10 Age 11 Age 12 Age 13 Age 14 Age 15 Age 16 Age 17+
BMI 13-23 13.5-23.5 14-24 14.5-24.5 15-25 15.5-25.5 16-26 16.5-26.5
  1. Periodicity of testing

The fitness tests need to be executed at least two times in a year i.e., in the month of June and January of academic session, which will provide an idea regarding present status as well as improvement of physical fitness during academic session of the student.


  1. Marking and Grading

7.1      The National Physical Fitness Programme envisages that every school going child studying in class V and above, should be evaluated on the above mentioned six components of physical fitness by being made to participate and compete in the enumerated eight measurable fitness tests. His/Her performance is accordingly graded and fed into his/her’s ‘Assessment Card’ and the school’s ‘Fitness Assessment Forms’ as designed by the Lakshmibai National University for Physical Education (LNUPE), Gwalior. Subsequent collection & collation from across the schools shall be done at the level of the District and grades allotted to every child on the basis of percentile system for marking & grading.


7.2     The students shall undergo these eight tests on two pre-determined dates in the months of January and June every year. While the conduct of these tests and their evaluation could be done by suitably trained internal personnel/staff during the child’s non Board years, the same shall be entrusted to external observers/examiners in the years in which the child is taking his class X/XII Board exams.


7.3      The enabling administrative provisions as also implementing manpower shall be provided by the concerned State Governments as enumerated in para 9.0 further. The scores/grades achieved by every child shall be enumerated in print on standardised ‘Assessment Cards and Fitness Assessment Forms’ prepared by LNUPE, Gwalior.


7.4      After collection and collation of data at the district level, as outlined at para 7.1, the same shall be linked to the Central Server administered by the LNUPE through the Core Application Software (CAS) supplemented by System Integrators.


7.5      Setting up of a Knowledge Resource Centre is of paramount importance, as its role will be very critical in working out and developing age specific, gender specific and region specific physical fitness parameters, collection and analysis of data with regard to physical fitness standards and re-working of the physical fitness norms, if necessary on the basis of data collated during implementation and the initial few years.


7.6      Knowledge Centre will be set up at Gwalior within the premises of the LNUPE, so that it can have close linkages with the University, which has already done a lot of work in this field. Apart from being the data base, the Knowledge Centre will be a research and development unit for working out physical fitness norms, suggesting fitness modules, giving its suggestions for implementing agencies for effective implementation of the programme.


  1. Motivation and Rewards

8.1      The top 10 percentage of performers in each district in the battery of tests indicated above shall be given an additional 3% to the percentage obtained by him/her in academic disciplines. Subsequently, performers between top 10 to 20 percentage will get additional 2.5 %, performers between 20 to 30 percentage will get 2%, between 30 to 40 percentage will get 1.5% and between 40 to 50 percentage will get additional 1% weightage in their marking which may be converted into grades as per prevalent norms. Children whose performance is amongst 50% of the number of students or more will not get any additional weightage in the marks or grading.


8.2      In India the concept of nation-wide implementation of Physical Fitness programme was initiated during 1959 and the then Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, Govt. of India had developed a test battery “National Physical Efficiency Drive” (NPED) for inculcating awareness of Physical fitness among the people.  The level of physical efficiency was then assessed and graded by awarding “Star system” (i.e. 3 stars, 2 stars etc.) However, the programme was discontinued as it was based on inappropriate and inaccurate assessment of physical fitness norms.


8.3      In the present proposal marks and grades are linked to the academic performance and fruits thereof.  It is felt that if fitness level is linked to academic excellence; it will motivate the students and the parents alike, to strive for it.  Care has also been taken to ensure that an over-riding pan Indian or even state-wide standard is not adopted in working out the grading system.  By adopting a district specific percentile system, it is ensured that unfair advantage is not given to any region or district in the country.


  1. Developing Physical Fitness Standards for differently abled students including mentally challenged children and youth and implementation strategy thereof.

9.1      Physical fitness for differently-abled persons is as important for them as it is for able bodied persons. Components for adjudging physical fitness for them are more or less the same viz., cardio respiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition (percentage of body fat). But their physical fitness tests need to be decided keeping in view the kinds of disability they suffer from. In the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, seven types of disabilities have been defined. It is proposed that a Committee of Experts may be set up to recommend physical fitness parameters, marking & grading and motivation/rewards for differently-abled persons.




  1. Implementation Strategy and Distribution of Responsibility

It is proposed that a tripartite agreement between the stake holders – State Governments, Central Government and the Lakshmibai National University for Physical Education, Gwalior be put into place for implementation of the National Physical Fitness Programme for School Children.

Distribution of responsibilities amongst the stake holders

Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education (LNUPE)

  • Location of centre server connected to District Education Officers in the entire country.
  • Creation and Design of a Core Application Software (CAS) with System Integrators (SI)
  • Device and Monitor quantifiable Physical Fitness parameters/tests
  • Have international linkages to keep abreast with latest developments
  • Facilitate Tripartite agreement between the stake holders.
  • To prepare standardized marksheet forms for every school to be filled and handedover at the District Headquarter.
  • To identify talent on the basis of marks/sports at all the levels


State Governments

  • Facilitate the National Physical Fitness Programmes in Schools
  • Ensure timely conduct of Physical Fitness appraisals/exams in schools
  • Ensure availability of adequate level and number of personnel from State Police/Other State Govt departments which have personnel from Sports Quota.


Union Government

  • HRD Ministry to ensure compliance in all CBSE schools
  • HRD Ministry to initiate the recognition of Physical Fitness Induces Grades/marks in Higher Education Institutes under its domain.
  • Sports Ministry – Give Policy directions to the entire programme
  • Sports Ministry – To constitute Award Systems at National level for recognition of schools/districts and States alongwith individuals
  • Sports Ministry through SAI conduct Battery of Tests including Anthropometry and adopt talent youngsters in suitable sports disciplines to impart best possible training at STC, SAG Centres.
  1. Talent identification through physical fitness tests:

11.1    Physical fitness tests will also serve as important source for spotting talent. School children doing exceeding well in physical fitness tests will be identified and nurtured under the various residential and non-residential schemes of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) such as National Talent Search Contest (NTSC) Scheme, SAI Training Centres (STC) Scheme,  Special Area Games Scheme etc.




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