Outside interviews NPI’s Hannah Thompson on why cardiovascular fitness is a better predictor of children’s future health than body mass index

Jun 14, 2024

Outside interviewed Nutrition Policy Institute researcher and physical activity expert Hannah Thompson for a March 31, 2024 article, “School Fitness Testing Is a Nightmare. Should We Get Rid of It?” In the article, Thompson addresses why cardiovascular fitness is a better predictor of children's future health than body mass index, which is commonly known as BMI. “Even in the ‘overweight' category, BMI is not necessarily predictive of poor metabolic health. Cardiovascular fitness is.” Her interview provided context to recent changes in school fitness testing in California. The California Department of Education suspended student body mass index reporting as part of FITNESSGRAM® data collection in January 2022, citing concerns about mental health, accessibility and gender equity. “PE is not supposed to impact BMI,” said Thompson. “The whole idea of physical education—apart from recess or other physical activity opportunities—is to help younger students build the foundation and skills to go on and be active later in life.”

By Danielle Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Lorrene D Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist
By Hannah Thompson