Fitness standards on the rise in Russian schools
March 13, 2013
For the past twenty years, schools in Russia have set their own physical fitness standards for their students, but this may change in the near future. President Vladimir Putin has stated his desire for the revival of a physical evaluation program that would set consistent standards across the country.
This Soviet-era program called GTO, the Russian acronym for Ready For Labor and Defense, previously required all schoolchildren to pass fitness tests. In a gradual process, the program faded away over the years and vanished entirely in 1991.
As habits formed in youth can set expectations and encourage behaviors for the rest of a person's life, the increased focus on physical fitness in schools is a step toward better health overall. According to the Voice of Russia, there are no official statistics on obesity in the nation, but experts believe almost half the population is overweight.