Dr. Cooper Speaks

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Today, I was finally able to meet Dr. Kenneth Cooper, founder of the Cooper Institute and coiner of the term "aerobics." OK, I didn't actually meet him in person as I hoped I would when I went to Dallas in February. Instead, I met him as journalists often meet the people they interview--over the phone.

I had set up the interview several weeks ago, since this busy man's schedule was quickly filling up for the month of July, and I needed to interview him for a profile about him that I'm writing for our September issue. He is, after all, the recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Award this year at the Club Industry show in October and the keynote speaker at the trade show.

I have to say that he's a man excited about what he does. And today, he was especially excited as yesterday he'd participated in a press conference about the results of physical fitness testing done on more than 2.5 million school children in Texas. The physical fitness test used was Fitnessgram, a program that he helped develop, and that he helped fund with his own money and private donations to get into Texas schools. The results of the testing weren't good. We'll be offering more details on the results on our site soon.

However, the release of the results yesterday helped prove the sorry state of children's physical fitness in Texas, and that, he indicated to me, may help the state, schools and parents work together to change the situation. He was also excited because at least another 14 states have been in contact with him about implementing the testing in their states.

Dr. Cooper told me that he sees improving the fitness level of children in this country as his mission now. In fact, he even said that he doesn't think that he will be remembered for coining the term "aerobics" as much as he will be for helping to turn the tide of the obesity epidemic in children.

For more of what Dr. Cooper said, watch for the profile on him to appear in our September issue. --Pam

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