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Individual-Level Fitness and Absenteeism in New York City Middle School Youths, 2006–2013


Student selection started with students attending a general education NYC public school enrolled in grades 6, 7, or 8 for the entire academic year during 2006–2007 through 2012–2013 (N = 457,397). Excluded were 6,225 students enrolled less than n − 5 days, where n = maximum days enrolled across students per year, leaving 451,172 students. Students were also excluded if Fitnessgram measurements were missing for 2 or more consecutive years while in 5th through 8th grades during 2006–2007 through 2012–2013 (n = 56,464), leaving 394,708 students with Fitnessgram measurements for a minimum of 2 consecutive years. Next, students from schools with poor-quality fitness data during 2009–2010 through 2010–2011 were excluded based on all students decreasing in height over time (n = 350), leaving 394,358 students with acceptable fitness data quality. Also excluded were students who changed schools during 6th through 8th grades (n = 44,977). After the above exclusions, the final sample included 349,381 unique 6th- through 8th-grade students.

Figure 1.
Sample selection flowchart for the association of fitness and absenteeism in New York City (NYC) public middle school students, 2006–2007 through 2012–2013.

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Figure 2.
Mean days absent per year by grade across fitness-change categories in New York City public middle school students (N = 349,381), 2006–2007 through 2012–2013. Change in fitness composite percentile scores based on Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) Push-up and Curl-up Fitnessgram tests from the year prior. Categories are based on tabulated mean estimates.

Fitness Change Mean Days Absent Per Year
Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8
>20% Decrease 10.6 11.6 13.9
10%–20% Decrease 10.2 10.6 12.6
<10% Change 10.0 10.1 11.9
10%–20% Increase 9.7 9.7 11.5
>20% Increase 9.6 9.8 11.9

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Page last reviewed: January 11, 2018