The Cooper Institute

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


2019 Annual Legacy Award Dinner honors the NFL Foundation

Study shows NFL PLAY 60 and school-based fitness programs can help curb rising obesity rate and improve health for millions of children, but greater participation is needed

DALLAS, TX (October 15, 2019) –  
As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, NFL PLAY 60 rises to the top as one of the few programs proven to make an impact on the fitness and health of millions of children. The Cooper Institute will celebrate the impact of the NFL Foundation’s youth health and wellness campaign at the 2019 Legacy Award Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 7 at the Belo Mansion in Dallas. 

NFL PLAY 60 encourages kids to get physically active for at least 60 minutes a day. Since its launch in 2007 with American Heart Association, the NFL and its clubs have supported programs in over 73,000 schools, giving more than 38 million children an opportunity to boost their activity levels and improve their overall health. Supporting programs like Fuel Up to Play 60, a partnership between the NFL and the National Dairy Council (NDC), add nutrition education to round out the health and wellness program.  

“Fuel Up to Play 60 has completely changed the way I get the energy I need throughout the day and has increased my success academically and physically,” said Jimena Tinoco, Texas State Ambassador for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. “Fuel Up to Play 60 has changed my performance in class and on the soccer field.”

NFL PLAY 60 is the only school-based youth fitness program proven effective through research from the NFL PLAY 60 FitnessGram Project.

“Our mission is to make the next generation of youth the most active and healthy,” said Charlotte Jones Anderson, NFL Foundation Chairman and Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer. “We are proud to use FitnessGram by The Cooper Institute, the leading authority on fitness research, to improve student fitness in schools across the country.”

The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, demonstrates that students who participate in NFL PLAY 60 show greater improvements in aerobic capacity and body mass. Additional research shows that improvements to student fitness and health can also lead to better attendance, higher reading and math scores, and may even reduce behavioral problems in school.

“Today’s youth are less active, more overweight and unhealthier than ever before,” said Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, the “Father of Aerobics” and founder of The Cooper Institute. “Nearly 75% of young adults are not fit for military service because of obesity and poor fitness. We have to make serious changes if we want to protect the future of our children and our country.”

Greater participation in school-based fitness programs like NFL PLAY 60 can improve the health of American children and build habits they can carry with them into adulthood where poor health is driving up the cost of healthcare and driving down productivity.

The Cooper Institute will recognize the impact of NFL PLAY 60 programs at its 2019 Legacy Award Dinner on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 6:00 p.m. at The Belo Mansion in Dallas. Executive chairs for the event are long-time board trustees Arthur Blank and Roger Staubach.

Anderson will accept the Legacy Award on behalf of the NFL Foundation. The Honorable Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth, will receive the Well.Hero award for transforming health and wellness in Fort Worth through the Blue Zones Project. Retired Brig. Gen. Charles Duke, Apollo 16 astronaut and the 10th and youngest man to walk on the moon, will deliver the keynote address.

Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist Scott Murray will serve as master of ceremonies and moderate a special press conference panel at 5:00 p.m. with brief one-on-one interviews to follow. To register for this press conference or to schedule interviews, please contact Amber Freeland at or 972-341-3291.

For more information, tickets and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Amy Johnson, Chief Development Officer, at 214-543-6533 or Additional information is also available online at

The Cooper Institute is a dedicated to promoting life-long health and wellness worldwide through research, education and advocacy. To learn more, visit