Scouts-L Mail Archive for October of 1998: Re: Personal Fitness MB
Re: Personal Fitness MB
Bruce E. Cobern
Wed, 30 Sep 1998 11:08:10 -0400
At 12:44 PM 9/29/98 -0400, Lisa Conatser \(740\) 593-1004 wrote:
>Only one scout, age twelve, passed all three tests.
>Only three scouts hit 50th percentile for situps as outlined in the booklet
One thing that was pointed out on this list is that the standard that is
listed in the mb pamphlet for situps was based on 120 seconds, NOT on 60
seconds. I would ask them to do that test using the standard as it was
actually designed (two minutes) rather than the standard as written in the
chart (one minute). As a district advancement chairman I would have no
problem recommending that to my merit badge counselors, even if national
does not make that correction. Clearly they have adopted charts prepared by
the other organization and intended to use them as is, not make them harder.
So, if they had been given two minutes to do the situps, rather than one,
how many would have passed this particular test?
>Only the one scout mentioned earlier passed the aerobic endurance (RUNNING).
>Most scouts were at least two minutes too slow.
>The study which is used to determine the norms for aerobic capacity also has
>standards for aerobic capacity which do _not_ include running - specifically
>biking and swimming. Each of these boys is well within the body composition
>index determined by AAHPERD. Not everyone, despite level of fitness, is
>a runner. Perhaps this needs to be suggested to National.
Well, I would imagine they only picked up the "running" part of the aerobic
standard for one of several reasons. The first might have been that they
didn't want this badge to get too complicated. Second could have been that
EVERYONE has access to running, but not everyone has easy access to a
swimming pool and some might not have access to bikes, or know how to bike.
Believe it or not, riding a bicycle is something I never learned to do.
Since we apparently have determined WHERE the standards came from, I don't
think, here comes the heresy, I would have any problem with a counselor who
substituted one of the other measures which the AAHPERD considers an
equivalent measure of fitness for the one used in the PF merit badge
pamphlet. After all, the purpose is to determine if the Scout is in the
50th percentile of aerobic fitness. If the creator of the charts provides
several alternatives for determining this, then I would be comfortable with
using any of the alternatives, provided they are all readily available,
which, based on the URL below they appear to be, at least to those of us
>If anyone is curious, an updated version of the percentiles listed in the MB
>booklet exist at
So a question. Has the fitness of our population gotten better or worse?
Do the updated charts show that you have to do more or less of an activity
to make the 50th percentile? IOW, would using the updated charts make the
mb easier or harder?
Bruce E. Cobern