Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH

Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, "the father of aerobics," is the president and founder of The Cooper Aerobics Center. Recognized through his writings and research as a leader in the international physical fitness movement, Cooper has been credited with motivating more people to exercise in pursuit of good health than any other person.

The author of 18 books, Cooper has advocated revolutionizing the field of medicine away from disease treatment to disease prevention through aerobic exercise. His message is direct: "It is easier to maintain good health through proper exercise, diet and emotional balance than it is to regain it once it is lost."

In 1970 Cooper had resigned, as a lieutenant colonel, from a 13-year military career in order to open the medical clinic and research center and devote his full time to studying the relationship of exercise to health and longevity. While he was an Air Force flight surgeon and director of the Aerospace Medical Laboratory in San Antonio, Cooper had developed the 12-minute test and Aerobics Point System that led to his first book, Aerobics, in 1968. Today, the Army, Navy, Secret Service, several foreign military organizations, many U.S. and foreign corporations, and more than 2,500 universities and public schools utilize his program.

From The Cooper Aerobics Center's beginning, Cooper has emphasized the importance of basic and epidemiological research to document the value of exercise in the practice of preventive, diagnostic, and rehabilitative medicine. The Cooper Institute, one of the seven divisions of The Cooper Aerobics Center, constitutes the home base for such research. It utilizes the largest computerized exercise data base on record (approximately 350,000 person years of data) with an objective measure of fitness -- the treadmill stress test.

Cooper's research into heart disease and risk factors affecting heart disease and fitness (high blood pressure and hypertension, HDL cholesterol and cholesterol/HDL ratios, percent body fat, smoking and alcohol consumption, treadmill performance time, and pulmonary function) has been the subject of papers at international scientific conferences and in leading medical journals.

Cooper continues his personal mission to educate and encourage optimum health in as many segments of the population as possible. He has an MD from the University of Oklahoma and an MPH from the Harvard University School of Public Health. He is certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

WebMD Biography
© 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.