The Cooper Institute

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


Remembering Ross Perot

Written by
Amber Freeland
Posted in

Friday, Aug 02, 2019

On July 9, 2019, we lost a long-time friend, Mr. H. Ross Perot. Since the early years when our work was considered controversial, Ross and his family helped support the Cooper organizations and their support never wavered. They understood that the work we were doing was destined to gain credibility and have a positive impact on the world. Without his support, the notion that exercise is medicine might never have moved forward.  

I will miss Ross, not only in day to day life in Dallas, visiting with him at social events, and having the delightful privilege of seeing him for his annual examination, but also snow skiing with him on the slopes of Beaver Creek Mountain in Colorado.  I am glad that I could call Ross my friend. 

- Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH

Ross first came to the Cooper Clinic in 1993 for a preventive medicine examination, which became part of his regular regime for good health for over 25 years. His choice to live a “Cooperized” lifestyle helped him live 12 years longer than the national average. He was an example of “squaring off the curve” - living a long, active and healthy life right up to the end.

Ross Jr. described his father in a recent interview as being a great humanitarian, but he was so much more to us. He always felt that “money was only good if it could be used to support something good.” Ross and his family generously supported the activities here at the Cooper Aerobics Center, especially the research of The Cooper Institute.  

In 2010, Ross funded and helped develop the Perot International Youth Data Center (PIYDC) to host and store youth fitness, activity, and nutrition data from schools, community organizations, and regions around the globe - including schools in the NFL PLAY 60 FitnessGram project. As the largest international repository of youth fitness data, the PIYDC allowed The Cooper Institute to expand and grow its youth programming in Texas, the United States, and beyond as a leading authority on youth fitness assessments to improve health-related fitness in children. It has made a direct impact on children by allowing teachers, school districts and policy makers to make evidence-based decisions about physical education programming. 

Laura F. DeFina, William H. McRaven, Ross Perot Sr., David Little,
Millie Cooper and Kenneth H. Cooper

As a military physician during Desert Storm caring for a severely injured service man, I received a phone call from one of Mr. Perot’s staff who wanted to make sure that this young sailor had every resource he needed to get better. From the heart of a young military physician, I was so grateful that someone of Mr. Perot’s generosity and caliber was out there ensuring that our men and women in uniform had a “safety net.”  Years later when working at The Cooper Institute, I had the great opportunity to thank Mr. Perot for his efforts on behalf of service men and women. This was truly one of the greatest honors of my life. It not only takes a great fighting force to win conflicts, but also a strong home team that believes in both the mission and the lives that are at risk on the ground. I applaud Mr. Perot’s efforts to care for those of us who served. 

- Dr. Laura F. DeFina

Nearly 30% of American children are classified as overweight or obese. These children are more likely than ever to grow into overweight, unfit adults with poor health. This can lead to increased rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, which leads to greater healthcare costs. Nearly 75% of young adults are not fit for military service in part due to obesity and poor fitness. The health of American children is critical to remaining competitive in the global market and preserving national security.  Our dear friend, Ross, understood what this meant for our country and supported The Cooper Institute mission to improve health and wellness through research and education.

We are honored to have the opportunity to carry this legacy forward. The health and wellness of our future adults, workforce, and uniform personnel relies on understanding how health and wellness in childhood impacts adulthood. Ross’ gift left a legacy for our researchers to better understand the lifestyle behaviors that will lead to healthier generations well into the future. The Cooper Institute sends our thoughts and prayers to the entire Perot family.  


Kenneth H Cooper, MD, MPH              Laura F. DeFina, MD, FACP    
Founder and Chairman Emeritus            President and CEO
The Cooper Institute                             The Cooper Institute


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