The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


Founded by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, Our Kids’ Health is an initiative led by The Cooper Institute to improve children’s health by reducing childhood obesity.

According to the Center for Disease Control , data from two NHANES surveys (1976–1980 and 2003–2004) show that the prevalence of overweight kids is increasing:

  • Children aged 2–5 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 13.9%;
  • for those aged 6–11 years, prevalence increased from 6.5% to 18.8%;
  • and for those aged 12–19 years, prevalence increased from 5.0% to 17.4%.1

In Texas, Dr. Cooper championed Senate Bill 530 with Senator Jane Nelson (District 15), which now requires Kindergarten through 8th grade students to participate in “moderate to vigorous” physical activity during P.E. class or structured recess. The bill also mandates annual physical fitness testing of 3rd through 12th grade students using FITNESSGRAM.

While P.E. programs vary from state to state and very few require testing, Texas is the only state in the nation that tested more than 2.6 million 3-12 grade students on their fitness levels.

SB 530 was passed as an “unfunded mandate.” As a result, Dr. Cooper and Our Kids' Health raised $2 million to provide FITNESSGRAM to more than 8,000 Texas public schools and provide the necessary training for school districts. Thanks to generous donors, he achieved the needed support in December 2007.

Dr. Cooper or The Cooper Institute do not receive any money nor benefit from the sale of FITNESSGRAM to Texas schools through its distributor Human Kinetics. Dr. Cooper has waived all royalties related to the sale of FITNESSGRAM in Texas.

But there is more work to do. Our Kids’ Health relies on individual and corporate donations to support the on-going and important work to change the health and future of our children. To make a difference in lives of kids across Texas, please donate now.

Texas Youth Evaluation Presentation - 4/2009 | Our Kids' Health Official Brochure

Four Main Initiatives


Mandating and/or increasing physical activity in school for all grades through legislative action


Implementing annual physical fitness testing of students using The Cooper Institute’s FITNESSGRAM® tool and training teachers to administer the testing accurately


Collecting and analyzing data from the fitness assessments to measure improvements, as well as school meal programs and school physical education programs to direct needed changes


Providing schools, parents and communities tools to help children become more active every day and eat healthier food