The Cooper Institute

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


Message from the CEO: Laura F. DeFina

Posted in

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

As we say goodbye to a decade, The Cooper Institute looks forward to 2020 and beyond.

  • In 1970, Dr. Cooper had a vision that physical activity and fitness would change the health of our world. In order to prove that, he established The Cooper Institute to develop a research study to demonstrate the health benefits of fitness and preventive medicine. In the 1980s and 1990s, The Cooper Institute did ground-breaking research that showed the incredible health benefits of being fit. 
  • In the 2010s, our efforts became laser-focused on the health of future generations. 
  • We expanded the FitnessGram platform for youth health-related fitness and now have approximately 10 million children undergo the health-related fitness assessment annually. This allows children, their parents, and teachers to ensure that the children understand their responsibility in managing their own fitness and health. In addition, schools, administrators, and legislators can gauge the success of school-based physical activity programming in helping children learn positive lifestyle behaviors that they take into life.  

Given the on-going obesity crisis in children with ever-increasing diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, it is critical to work towards improving the health-behaviors of our children. The Cooper Institute advocates for maintaining physical education and health education in schools across the country. Just as reading, writing, and math are valued, educating children on self-care with a focus on physical activity and nutrition is critical. 

We must have physical education and fitness assessment for every child in every state to help all our precious children start a healthy journey into life.

The Cooper Institute appreciates our partnership with the National Football League Foundation and its NFL PLAY 60 partners, including the American Heart Association, in the development and implementation of the NFL PLAY 60 FitnessGram Project. In 2017, this program showed that children in schools utilizing either Fuel Up To Play 60 or the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge were actually fitter and leaner than those in schools that did not use this programming. Fun, active, and successful in a real world setting!   

Kenneth H. Cooper presents the Legacy Award to Charlotte Jones Anderson in honor of the NFL Foundation
Kenneth H. Cooper presents the Legacy Award to Charlotte Jones Anderson in honor of the NFL Foundation.

On November 7, 2019, our Legacy Dinner brought together leaders in the relentless fight for youth fitness and wellness. The Legacy Award honors the visionary leaders who have improved the lives and health of men, women and children across the country and around the world. This year’s winner was the NFL Foundation, represented by Charlotte Jones Anderson, the NFL Foundation Chairman and Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer. The Well.Hero. was Fort Worth Mayor and lifelong bicyclist Betsy Price for her efforts to transform health and wellness in Fort Worth through the Blue Zones Project. The youth of America were well represented by Jimena Tinoco, age 17, National Youth Council Member for the Fuel Up to Play 60 Program, who emphasized the need for good nutrition and activity to promote academic and physical success. The importance of using one’s position and name to motivate children and adults to live healthier lives was stressed throughout the wonderful evening.  

In Memoriam: Orville Rogers | Inspiration Comes in Many Forms

Sadly, another advocate for lifelong activity and friend of The Cooper Institute left us in November, the amazing Orville Rogers. While he is no longer running with us in body, his spirit and commitment to wellness will continue to guide The Cooper Institute’s activities going forward. Together with champions like these, we challenge all our supporters to join us on this important journey to raise healthier generations from 2020 and beyond so that all live Well. Into the future. Remember, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2018 encourage adults to exercise 150 minutes a week and children to exercise 60 minutes a day – let’s all get moving in honor of Orville!