Kenneth Cooper, M.D.
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Kenneth Cooper, M.D.
Key Topics:
  • Health
  • Motivation
  • Bio Info:
    When Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., published his first bestseller, Aerobics, in 1968, he introduced a new word and a new concept to America. Millions of people started exercising, motivated by his preventive medicine research, persuasive public appearances,
    and a series of inspiring books. In short, a young Air Force physician who had once been a track star in his native Oklahoma had started a worldwide fitness revolution.


    During his 13 years of military service, Dr. Kenneth Cooper served as director of the Aerospace Medical Laboratory in San Antonio and worked with the National Aeronautics Space Administration in conditioning America’s astronauts for space. He developed the 12-minute and 1.5-mile fitness tests and the Aerobics Point System, all used today by military organizations, amateur and professional athletic teams, law enforcement
    agencies, and many public schools and universities all over the world.

    Two years after the publication of Aerobics (Bantam, 1968) Kenneth Cooper resigned from the U.S. Air Force to pursue full-time exploration of the relationship between cardiovascular fitness and health and longevity.
    By 1970 Dr. Cooper’s dream was becoming a reality with the launch of Cooper Aerobics Center. The early clinic and nonprofit research institute were housed in a two-story Colonial style mansion, surrounded by 13 acres of landscaped lawns and open space for the anticipated expansion. A gymnasium and exercise facilities were added a year later, and in 1979 the medical and research units moved next door into the newly constructed Cooper Clinic, reestablishing the original building as an activity center. With more than 2,000 members by 1981, the Aerobics Activity Center (now Cooper Fitness Center) flourished. The 1980s proved to be a time of significant growth with the construction of Cooper Guest Lodge hotel and the acquisition of an adjacent building, which was renovated to house the research and education division, The Cooper Institute.

    Kenneth Cooper next developed an intensive medical spa program, Cooper Wellness Program, offering participants four, six, or 13-day sessions for total wellness assessment and lifestyle modification. The 1990s brought additional development, spreading Dr. Cooper’s wellness goals across the 30-acre campus with the creation of Cooper Spa and, ultimately, across the world, with the inception of Cooper Ventures consulting services. Bringing the Cooper message into the new millennium, Cooper Concepts, developer of Cooper Complete nutritional supplements, launched “Healthy Living Radio from the Cooper Aerobics Center,” a nationally syndicated program. A television program, “To Life,” was also introduced. In 2006, Dr. Kenneth Cooper expanded his wellness mission to Craig Ranch, a development in McKinney, Texas, with the opening of a second Cooper Aerobics Center.

    Stretching his international reach, Dr. Cooper has lectured in more than 50 countries and authored 18 books, which have been translated into 41 languages and total more than 30 million copies sold. (In Brazil, running is called “coopering” or “doing the cooper,” and the “cooperteszt” is the national fitness test in Hungary.) Kenneth Cooper and his son, Tyler Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., are working on a new book to be released in 2007.

    From the time of his first book, Dr. Kenneth Cooper has advocated revolutionizing the field of medicine away from disease treatment to disease prevention through aerobic exercise. The Cooper philosophy, “It is easier to maintain good health through proper exercise, diet, and emotional balance than to regain it once it is lost,” has been proven valid in scientific research. The Institute’s landmark eight-year study of 13,000 patients showed that individuals with a sedentary lifestyle are four times as likely to die from cardiovascular disease as those who exercise moderately. The Cooper database, the largest in the world based on treadmill stress testing as a measure of fitness, is now following almost 100,000 patients.

    Today Dr. Cooper, recognized as the leader of the international physical fitness movement and credited with motivating more people to exercise in pursuit of good health than any other person, serves as president of Cooper Aerobics Center. He holds a B.S. degree and an M.D. degree from the University of Oklahoma as well as an M.P.H. degree from the Harvard University School of Public Health, and he is certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. A 650-person staff shares Kenneth Cooper’s mission to educate and encourage optimum health in as many segments of the population as possible.

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper sets an example for maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising at Cooper Aerobics Center on a regular basis, along with his wife Millie and their daughter Berkley and son Tyler and their families — all “coopering” for health.


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