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THE REPORT THAT SHOCKED THE PRESIDENT
Robert H. Boyle
August 15, 1955
It came from two physical fitness experts who tested U.S. and European youngsters, and it shows that the U.S. is rapidly becoming the softest nation in the world
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August 15, 1955

The Report That Shocked The President

It came from two physical fitness experts who tested U.S. and European youngsters, and it shows that the U.S. is rapidly becoming the softest nation in the world

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Critics notwithstanding, an impressive number of physical education authorities back the Kraus-Weber Tests. Dr. Peter Karpovich, Research Professor of Physiology at Springfield College, one of the nation's leading physical education schools, says that the Kraus-Weber Tests have fulfilled "a very important function by calling attention to the fact that our children do not get sufficient exercise." Last year Dr. Donald K. Mathews and two other members of Springfield's Tests and Measurements Division gave the Rogers Physical Fitness Index test to more than 4,000 boys in junior and senior high schools. Their report: "At no time was a school found to be average or above [compared to previous] national norms." The Rogers test, which involves the use of expensive equipment not within the reach of most schools, is particularly valuable in that it has been in use since the '20s and thus allows examiners to compare results with standardized norms set then. Physical education authorities are generally in agreement that the Kraus-Weber Tests and the Rogers test complement each other. No one is more in agreement with this than the man who devised the Physical Fitness Index, Dr. Frederick Rand Rogers. Says Dr. Rogers: "Doctors Kraus and Weber have provided in their battery of six tests far and away the most valid and generally useful measure of physical fitness for children of elementary school age."

These then were the facts presented to Dwight D. Eisenhower. After hearing the report on the nation's youngsters at the White House luncheon, President Eisenhower was moved to recall some thoughts of his own. During World War II, when he was a five-star general, the nation was facing the greatest crisis in its history. Men were never more needed to serve America's cause but, the President recalled, more than 50% of them were unable to serve because they were physically unfit. Dwight D. Eisenhower did not need to be reminded that a problem does exist.

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