The Cooper Institute

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


Log In        |     Software Support        |        Order Now 


FitnessGram by The Cooper Institute is an assessment that measures student fitness levels. As the national test of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, FitnessGram assesses the physical and aerobic fitness of more than 10 million students across the country in over 20,000 schools.

Scientific Advisory Board


A key factor in the sustainability and credibility of the FitnessGram assessment has been the FitnessGram Scientific Advisory Board. The following are the main roles of the board:

Position Statements


Gregory J. Welk, PhD

Gregory J. Welk, PhD
Scientific Director
Iowa State University

Gregory J. Welk is a Barbara E. Forker Professor with the Department of Kinesiology at Iowa State University. Dr. Welk completed his Master's degree (MS) at the University of Iowa and his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Prior to coming to ISU, Dr. Welk worked at the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research where he directed the Childhood and Adolescent Health Division. He was responsible for the scientific direction of FitnessGram® and has continued to serve as the Chair of the FitnessGram Scientific Advisory Board. His research interests focus on the assessment and promotion of physical activity and fitness in children. Dr. Welk is an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America), the Society for Behavior Medicine (SBM), and the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE).


Scott Going, PhD

Scott Going, PhD
The University of Arizona

Scott Going, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and in Physiological Sciences and the Director of the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at The University of Arizona. His research interests include development of methods and models for body composition assessment, changes in body composition during growth and development in children and with aging in older adults, and the effects of exercise and diet on the bone, soft tissue composition, functional capacity, and health. His research is funded by The National Institutes of Health (NIDDK, NIAMS, and NICHD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Science Foundation of Arizona.

Current projects focus on the development of body composition standards for youth and adults, school-based integrated physical activity and nutrition programs, sarcopenia, hip geometry and fractures in postmenopausal women, and the effects of exercise interventions on skeletal development and health in children and patients with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.


Kathleen F. Janz, Ed.D

Scott Going, PhD
The University of Iowa

Kathleen F. Janz, Ed.D, is a physical activity epidemiologist at the University of Iowa in the Department of Health and Human Physiology and the Department of Epidemiology.  She conducts population- and clinically-based research addressing the effect of physical activity and physical fitness to health outcomes. Professor Janz’s secondary area of research is physical activity measurement, specifically the modeling of objective measures using group-based trajectory and multi-level growth models, to better understand the effects of physical activity in prospective observational and intervention studies. 

Together, her work seeks to understand type, dose, and pattern of physical activity associated with metabolic and musculoskeletal health. She has been an investigator with the Iowa Bone Development Study for over 20 years. Several NIH scientific panels seeking to expand and standardize the use of objective physical activity sensors in epidemiological, clinical, and community research have recognized her work. Recently, she served on the federal advisory panel that wrote the U.S. Physical Activity Guidelines Mid-Course Report and an ad hoc committee to revise the National Osteoporosis Foundation statement on peak bone mass. Professor Janz has just completed a 2-year federal appointment on the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Scientific Advisory Committee.

Seventeen nationally recognized experts in physical activity and health were appointed to this committee and charged with reviewing the body of scientific and medical evidence in physical activity and health and writing the scientific report that documents the rationale for recommendations for the second (2018) edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. She is beginning an appointment with the National Osteoporosis Foundation Nutrition & Physical Activity for Bone Health in Healthy Adults writing committee, which is charged with developing and disseminating new information related to dietary interventions and exercises that promote bone health and protect against fractures.  

Dolly Lambdin, PhD

Dolly Lambdin, PhD
The University of Texas, Austin

Dolly Lambdin, EdD, is a clinical professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She has 16 years teaching experience in public and private schools grades K-8 and 37 years in teacher preparation at the university level for many years teaching mornings in the public school and afternoons at the university. She has supervised over 100 student teachers visiting thousands of public school classes and learning from scores of fabulous “cooperating teachers”. She teaches undergraduate teaching methods courses and Technology in Physical Education, Analysis of Teaching, and Current Issues in Physical Education in the masters and doctoral programs in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at UT Austin.

Dr. Lambdin is the recipient of the Texas Exes Elizabeth Shatto Massey Award for Excellence in Teacher Education (2009) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Physical Education Teacher Education Honor Award (2009), Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance College Teacher of the Year in 2008.

Dr. Lambdin served as President of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) from 2004-05 and on the writing teams for the Texas Physical Education Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in Physical Education, the National and Texas State Physical Education Beginning Teacher Standards, and NASPE’s Appropriate Practices Guidelines.

Dr. Lambdin has co-authored several texts including Putting Research to Work in Elementary Physical Education with Lawrence F. Locke, Fitness for Life Middle School, and Fitness for Life Middle School Teacher’s Guide with Chuck Corbin and Guy LeMasurier. More recently she co-authored the completion of the Fitness for Life Series, Fitness for Life: Elementary School, a comprehensive guide for school-wide support of physical activity and physical education which includes guides for classroom teachers, physical education teachers and the school wellness coordinator (Corbin, Lambdin, LeMasurier, & Greiner).

During leisure time she enjoys walking, cycling, kayaking, sewing and signing around the campfire. In the summer she spends her time in Maine enjoying living in the woods by the lake.

Matthew Mahar, EdD

Matthew Mahar, EdD
San Diego State University

Matthew Mahar is Director and Professor of the School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences at San Diego State University. His research focuses on the promotion and measurement of physical activity and fitness in youth. He has expertise in the measurement aspects of physical activity and fitness and has extensive experience conducting school-based research and intervention programs for overweight children. He is the creator of the Energizers Classroom-based Physical Activities and has experience teaching both elementary school and high school physical education.

Dr. Mahar has served on the Science Board of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition; as chair of the Editorial Board for Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport; and as chair of the Examinations Committee of the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Mahar is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology. He has won awards for his teaching, research, and service contributions, including the prestigious North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. He exercises, walks his dog, and tracks his steps every day.

James R. Morrow, Jr., PhD

James R. Morrow, Jr., PhD
University of North Texas

James R. Morrow, Jr. is a Regents Professor Emeritus in the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation at the University of North Texas. His background is in research and evaluation methodology, having conducted research on fitness testing and taught measurement, research, and evaluation courses for 40 years. He has published more than 150 manuscripts and chapters and 5 textbooks. His co-authored measurement text, Measurement, and Evaluation in Human Performance, is in its 5th edition. He presented his research annually before national and international audiences.

He has served on the FitnessGram® Advisory Committee for more than 30 years. He previously served a 4-year term on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Science Board as a member and then Chair. Morrow is a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Kinesiology (for which he was President in 2003-2004), Fellow of SHAPE America, and Fellow of the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (1989-1993) and founding Co-Editor (with Steven N. Blair) of the Journal of Physical Activity & Health (2004-2006). He has received numerous state and national awards for his research and service activities. Honors include the AAHPERD Scholar, AAHPERD McCloy Lecturer, AAHPERD RQES Lecturer, the AAHPERD Research Consortium Distinguished Service Award, the Measurement and Evaluation Council Lifetime Achievement Award, TAHPERD’s David K. Brace Award, SDAAHPERD Scholar, TAHPERD Honor Award, and the AAHPERD Research Consortium Writing Award (3 times). He has been Principal or Co-Investigator on research awards funded for approximately $8,000,000.

Sharon Ann Plowman, PhD

Sharon Ann Plowman, PhD
University of Northern Illinois–Emeritus

Dr. Sharon Ann Plowman a professor emeritus from the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University. She taught in higher education for 36 years including classes in personal fitness, exercise physiology, stress testing and exercise bioenergetics. She has published over seventy scientific and research articles in the field as well as numerous applied articles on physical fitness with an emphasis on females and children/adolescents.

Dr. Plowman earned her earned her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign under the tutelage of Dr. T. K. Cureton, Jr. She is a Fellow emeritus of the American College of Sports Medicine, and served on the Board of Trustees. She is a Fellow emeritus of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education. She is a Life Member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (now SHAPE America). Dr. Plowman has received the Excellence in Teaching Award at NIU, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Honor Award.

Dr. Plowman was part of the original professional committees that developed the Health-Related Physical Fitness concept and has served on the Scientific Advisory Council for FitnessGram® since its inception in 1987.

During leisure time, Dr. Plowman enjoys traveling, exercising, volunteering at a local therapeutic horseback riding program and making pottery.

Stephen Pont, MD, MPH, FAAP

Stephen Pont, MD, MPH, FAAP
Dell Children's Medical Center

Stephen Pont, MD, MPH serves as the medical director for the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, which strives to empower families to lead healthy, happy lives through ACES (Activating Children Empowering Success) a bilingual tertiary care weight management clinic, Healthy Living Happy Living a 10-week family-based group program, the TEEN cooking and behavioral health group program, and education, advocacy and research activities. Dr. Pont also serves as the medical director for Austin Independent School District's Student Health Services and on a team with the UT-School of Public Health and the USDA/Baylor College of Medicine on a CDC Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Project that funds a systems-based childhood obesity intervention linking primary care offices, schools, recreation centers/YMCAs, and community-based interventions in Houston and Austin. He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics with UT-Southwestern, Austin Programs and an adjunct Professor in the UT-Austin Department of Advertising. Dr. Pont works with many organizations to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic including Marathon Kids, Children's Optimal Health, Texas Department of Agriculture, Children's Hospital Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, where Dr. Pont currently chairs the AAP's Provisional Section on Obesity. Dr. Pont enjoys working with the media, and regularly utilizes print, radio and TV to spread health messages in English and Spanish to families in Austin and across Texas.

Dr. Pont may be reached at or at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas.

Georgi Roberts, MS

Georgi Roberts, MS
Fort Worth I.S.D.

Georgi began her teaching career as an elementary PE teacher in Fort Worth, Texas.  She taught for 7 years and then became the Director of Health and Physical Education for the Fort Worth ISD.  Her primary focus has been to build a strong, standards-based Health and PE program for the district of 86,000 students with focused professional development and meaningful assessment.  She has been successful in obtaining several very large federal and local grants to help support resources, training for teachers and staffing. 

Throughout her career, she has been active in local, state, and national organizations that support teachers, student health and advocacy.  Georgi was part of the team that developed the 2013 National PE Standards and a strong believer in the goal to develop physically literate individuals.  In 2008 she received the Texas AHPERD K-12 Administrator of the Year Award; in 2010 she received NASPE’s Channing Mann Physical Education Administrator of the Year Award; in 2014 she was awarded SHAPE America’s “Joy of Effort” award.  This award means the most as it is recognition of being passionate about children’s physical, mental and emotional health and the work to improve it.

Georgi has been a member of the FitnessGram Scientific Advisory Board since 2008 and is a strong advocate for health-related fitness and its impact on student learning and wellness.  She includes this in her current goal to have well established Coordinated Health in all schools under “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child”. Her other passions are reading, cycling and traveling; wherever she is, she advocates for children.

Weimo Zhu, PhD

Weimo Zhu, PhD
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Zhu is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. An internationally known scholar in Kinesmetrics (Measurement and Evaluation in Kinesiology), Dr. Zhu’s primary research interests are in the study and application of new measurement theories (e.g., item response theory) and statistical models/methods (e.g., equating) to the field of Kinesiology, especially the impact of body-mind exercises on health. His research has been well supported by external grants, including NIH and RWJF. He was the section editor of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport between 1999 and 2005 and is the associate editor of Journal of Physical Activity and Health. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education, American College of Sports Medicine and Research Consortium of AAHPERD. He was a member of the Scientific Board of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports between 2005 and 2008 and has served on the FitnessGram/ActivityGram®Advisory Committee since 2002.

Emeritus Members