The Cooper Institute

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


The Cooper Institute® Marks Texas Obesity Awareness Week with Tom Thumb Check Presentation Event

Grant to support nutrition video game research in schools

Contact: Andrea Kirsten-Coleman

DALLAS, TEXAS (Sept. 14, 2012) — The Cooper Institute is pleased to announce the receipt of a $100,000 Healthy Futures Grant from Tom Thumb through the Safeway Foundation. The grant will fund a study in six Dallas-area elementary schools during the 2012 – 2013 school year to determine the effectiveness of video games in improving children’s food choices. The Cooper Institute, in partnership with The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas School of Public Health, will use the award-winning 3-D video game, The Quest to Lava Mountain®, developed by The Cooper Institute, in the study.

Designed for third through fifth grade students, the video game was created in partnership with the Texas Department of Agriculture and is available free for Texas public elementary schools through the NutriGram® program. The game helps children understand how to optimize their health and challenges them to learn new skills, including gathering and cooking healthy food and creating recipes while reinforcing science, reading, environmentalism, social collaboration, and health.

“Childhood obesity is one of the biggest challenges we face today in Texas and in our country. With larger numbers of children suffering from diabetes, heart, and other diseases it’s more important than ever to improve the fitness and reduce the fatness of our young people,” says Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Cooper Institute. “We must come up with innovative ways to do this, and The Quest to Lava Mountain video game is one of the unique approaches we are taking at The Cooper Institute.”  

The Quest to Lava Mountain helps children understand and apply five core concepts:




To hold children’s interest, The Quest features the same elements children are used to seeing in consumer games. “When developing the video game it was important for it to contain the right combination of education and entertainment,” says Nancy Beasley, Associate Director of Youth Initiatives at The Cooper Institute. “We want to educate children in a format that’s fun and comfortable for them – video games accomplish this.”

The grant continues Tom Thumb’s commitment to support causes that impact customers' lives.

 “Being a part of the food industry, Tom Thumb knows how important healthy eating habits are to growing bodies,” says Paul McTavish, Tom Thumb President. “That’s why we’re proud to support The Cooper Institute’s innovative and interactive program designed to fight childhood obesity through a popular medium to children.”

About The Cooper Institute

Established in 1970 by Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, The Cooper Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated worldwide to preventive medicine research and education, housing one of the world’s largest databases on exercise and health. Each year The Cooper Institute develops engaged learners in fitness and health with its courses and nationally accredited Personal Trainer Certification exam. The Cooper Institute offers web-based tools for schools to track and report on youth fitness and nutrition: FitnessGram® and NutriGram®. The Quest game trailer can be viewed at For more information, visit


About Tom Thumb

Tom Thumb currently operates 63 stores in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, 33 stores throughout the greater Houston area, and 14 stores in Austin under the Randalls banner. Randalls/Tom Thumb is the Texas division of Safeway Inc., a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America, based on sales. The company operates 1,666 stores in the United States and Western Canada and had annual sales of $43.6 billion in 2011. The company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY. For more information visit


About the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living

The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living is an international leader in conducting research and providing programs that promote healthy living for children, their families and communities. Our work fosters improved health behaviors among youth, influences policy and environmental change to support healthy living, and advances professional education and community service. For more information visit