Award Recipient

Zig Ziglar Servant Leadership Award Recipient, 2018

Dr. Kenneth Cooper

Prestonwood Christian Academy is delighted to announce Dr. Kenneth Cooper as the 2018 recipient of the Zig Ziglar Servant Leadership Award. Dr. Cooper embodies the kingdom character qualities that this award represents. He has committed his life to serving the Lord in the medical field. As a pioneer and innovator in health and wellness, Dr. Cooper is a servant-leader with a Christian worldview perspective.

For nearly 50 years, Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH has inspired millions to exercise for good health with the release of his first best-seller, Aerobics. Today Dr. Cooper is revolutionizing health and fitness again—calling on America and the world to Get Cooperized. As a leading pioneer of preventive medicine, Dr. Cooper challenges everyone to follow “8 Healthy Steps” to live better both sooner and later: maintain a healthy weight; make healthy food choices most of the time; exercise most days of the week; take the right supplements for you; do not use tobacco; control alcohol; manage stress; get a regular, comprehensive physical exam.

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, Dr. Cooper has long advocated moving the field of medicine away from disease treatment to disease prevention. 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.

A grandfather of five, Dr. Cooper has become passionately involved in the fight against childhood obesity both locally and globally. In Texas, Dr. Cooper was instrumental in getting physical education back in schools through the passage of Senate Bill 530 that requires enhanced PE activity levels and annual physical fitness testing using FITNESSGRAM®. Since then, The Cooper Institute has partnered with NFL Charities PLAY 60 initiative to bring FITNESSGRAM to students in more than 1,000 schools nationwide, created the Healthy Zone School program and established The Perot International Youth Data Repository containing health-related data from children worldwide.

In addition to Aerobics, which has been translated into 41 languages and Braille, Dr. Cooper has authored 18 additional books, which combined have sold more than 30 million copies. Dr. Cooper and son, Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, released their first-ever book as a father/son team, Start Strong, Finish Strong (Avery) in 2007.

Dr. Cooper’s mark has also positively impacted the American diet. His collaboration with PepsiCo and eliminating trans fats from its Frito-Lay snack line started an international wave that other companies have followed. For three years, the back of Baked Lay’s packages included this quote from Dr. Cooper, “Fitness is a journey, not a destination. It must be continued for the rest of your life.”

During Dr. Cooper’s 13 years of service in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, he served as a flight surgeon and director of the Aerospace Medical Laboratory in San Antonio. He dreamed of becoming an astronaut and worked with the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) to help create the conditioning program preparing America’s astronauts for space and in-flight anti-deconditioning program used to keep astronauts active on board spacecraft. He also developed the 12-minute and 1.5-mile fitness tests and the Aerobics Point System, used today by military organizations, amateur and professional athletic teams, law enforcement agencies and public schools and universities worldwide.

In 1970, Dr. Cooper resigned from the military to explore the relationship between cardiovascular fitness and health and longevity. He founded Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas where he serves as Chairman of six health and wellness companies and The Cooper Institute research and education nonprofit. Dr. Cooper’s mission is shared by his son, Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, President and CEO of Cooper Aerobics, and a preventive medicine physician at Cooper Clinic, plus 600 teammates—all working together to Cooperize the world.

Born March 4, 1931, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. Cooper’s father, a periodontist, instilled in him the idea and desire to practice preventive medicine. Dr. Cooper received a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine at The University of Oklahoma and a Master of Public Health from Harvard University School of Public Health. He is certified by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

At age 86 and having logged more than 38,000 miles running, Dr. Cooper sets an example for maintaining a healthy lifestyle by exercising at Cooper Aerobics Center on a regular basis, along with his wife, Millie, daughter, Berkley, son, Tyler, and their families.