The Cooper Institute

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


CI Partners with Texas Department of Agriculture to Improve Health of Texas Children

NUTRIGRAM® to provide snapshot of student nutrition, promote healthy lifestyles

AUSTIN (August 20, 2010) - In an effort to curb the alarming rates of obesity in Texas, The Cooper Institute was recently awarded a contract from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) to develop a nutrition assessment and educational service for students called NUTRIGRAM®. The online survey, being created specifically for children grades 3-5, will provide an individual snapshot of each participating student's nutrition knowledge and behavior; empower students to take ownership of their food choices through online learning opportunities; and provide critical information to raise the bar for school nutrition.

The Cooper Institute’s partnership with the Texas Department of Agriculture will enable our organizations to assess, evaluate, and improve upon kids’ nutrition knowledge,” Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, Founder and Chairman of Cooper Aerobics Center said. “We’ve seen firsthand through The Cooper Institute’s youth fitness evaluations that knowledge has the power to transform individuals and communities, so we are optimistic NUTRIGRAM will spark a positive change in how Texas’ children will view and consume healthy foods.”

Through a question and answer format, NUTRIGRAM will generate a report for the individual student, parent and/or teacher, which will help track and measure nutrition knowledge and behaviors. The report also will provide TDA information on the various food choices students would like to see in their school cafeterias.

“If this obesity epidemic is not reversed we will, for the first time in history, see children living shorter lives than their parents,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “NUTRIGRAM will assist us in developing solutions to ensure our children live healthy lives, which benefits taxpayers, businesses and most importantly our families. NUTRIGRAM is the perfect complement to the initiative we are promoting – the 3E’s of Healthy Living – Education, Exercise and Eating Right.”

NUTRIGRAM will also feature the first 3D game-based nutrition education program developed specifically for elementary schools. The games are intended to pique the interest of students to adopt healthier eating.

NUTRIGRAM is scheduled to be tested in 14 schools across Texas in 2011.


More about Obesity in Texas
According to a recent report titled F as in Fat 2010: How Obesity Threatens Americas Future 2010, Texas ranks seventh in the nation for childhood obesity. Childhood obesity rates in Texas have been found to be higher than those reported for the nation. For example, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, from 2004-2005 the prevalence of childhood obesity was greater in Texas than in the U.S. Additionally, obesity is affecting more than just Texans who are overweight. It's estimated that Texas taxpayers spent nearly $5.8 billion dollars on obesity-attributable health care costs in 2008. If current obesity trends continue, that number could increase to $23.2 billion in 2018.

About The Cooper Institute
The Cooper Institute, established in 1970, by Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit globally dedicated to preventive medicine research and education. Dr. Cooper is widely considered the "Father of Aerobics" and is credited with sparking today's fitness movement. Now The Cooper Institute is redefining health as a leader by reversing childhood obesity. The Cooper Institute’s FITNESSGRAM® is the fitness assessment of choice in Texas and the U.S.; providing assessments to more than 14 million students each year at more than 86,000 schools nationwide. Beyond research, each year thousands worldwide take courses from The Cooper Institute to become health and fitness leaders.  The Cooper Institute’s Personal Trainer Certification exam is nationally accredited by NCCA.

To learn more about all
The Cooper Institute’s efforts or to support its life-changing work with a donation, visit Learn all about calorie balance at   

About the Texas Department of Agriculture
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) provides numerous services to Texans through four key areas: growing the agriculture industry; protecting consumers; enabling healthy lifestyles; and developing our economy. Through domestic and international marketing initiatives and various biosecurity measures, TDA promotes and protects the Lone Star State's $100 billion agriculture industry. The agency also protects Texans through programs to maintain the integrity of the state's natural resources and by ensuring consumers get what they pay for at the fuel pump and the grocery store. Additionally, as the administrator of federal nutrition programs and economic development grants, TDA also advocates healthy lifestyles among all Texans and fosters the advancement of communities across the Lone Star State. Through research, regulation, funding and marketing, TDA is committed to growing Texas' worldwide standing as a powerhouse of productivity.


For an interview with Dr. Kenneth Cooper, please contact Erica Wassinger at 972-560-3246 or

Contacts: Bryan Black or Veronica Obregon at 512-463-7664 or at 1-800-TELL-TDA.