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Last modified: Thursday, March 29, 2007

Kenneth Cooper, renowned preventive medicine expert, to speak at IU Bloomington

Editors: A media availability with Dr. Kenneth Cooper, M.D., is scheduled for 2 p.m. April 4 at Indiana University Bloomington in the State Room West in the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. The media is welcome to attend the symposium and public lecture noted below in addition to a noon presentation by Cooper at the Bloomington Hospital's Wegmiller Auditorium, 601 W. Second St. Please let Tracy James, 812-855-0084 and, know if you plan to attend the hospital address, titled "The real cost of healthcare: Workplace wellness and your bottom line." For more information about the April 4 events contact James or Dara Eckart, special events coordinator at HPER, at and 812-855-3686.

March 29, 2007

Dr. Kenneth Cooper

Dr. Kenneth Cooper, M.D., is speaking at Indiana University Bloomington on April 4 and participating in the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation's "Grow Move Change" research symposium.

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Renowned preventive medicine expert Kenneth Cooper, M.D., will headline activities on April 4 designed to show individuals how they can take a proactive role in their personal health -- and how researchers at Indiana University Bloomington's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation are helping.

Much of the research conducted by faculty in HPER, the third largest school on the IU Bloomington campus, falls on the prevention side of healthcare. Cooper, who is board certified in preventive medicine, has spent almost 40 years championing and documenting through research the principle that preventing disease is easier and cheaper than treating it. An international leader in the health and fitness movement and a warrior against childhood obesity, his numerous books, including the landmark Aerobics in 1968, offer research-based plans and guidelines for living healthier and longer lives through adequate physical activity and nutrition.

The April 4 activities are part of a yearlong celebration of HPER's 60th anniversary.

"We live in a bottom-line society -- we want to know 'How much will it cost,'" said David Koceja, HPER's associate dean for research and professor in the Department of Kinesiology. "Our message is, 'How much will we save?' It's hard to internalize how much we'll save by being healthy."

Cooper will give a free public lecture at 7 p.m. in the Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union. His address is titled, "Preventive medicine and health promotion: 21st century medicine."

Cooper also will participate in HPER's "Grow Move Change," research symposium, held throughout the day in the IMU's Frangipani Room. The symposium, which also is free and open to the public, will involve research presentations, panel discussions and research posters. Koceja said the presentations and panel discussions are designed to engage faculty throughout campus and practitioners but should be of interest to lay audiences, as well.

The research will focus on obesity and healthy aging. The schedule for the symposium is at Here is just a sampling of the research that will be discussed:

  • Koceja and his research team examine balance mechanisms and how they change as people age. This is critical to aging populations because a fall, particularly one involving broken bones, can dramatically change a person's quality of life. Koceja and his colleagues are studying whether a simple neural test could allow physicians to ID people at risk of falls so they could take specific steps to improve their balance.
  • Many people skip breakfast despite its link to a lower body mass index and potential for preventing people from becoming overweight and obese. A study by HPER researchers into beliefs about breakfast found that many respondents thought their employers disapproved of them eating breakfast. Whether or not they actually did, the response is significant because the workplace can provide a good opportunity to encourage healthy breakfast habits, said Susan Middlestadt, associate professor in the Department of Applied Health Science. Many work sites, particularly those involving shift work, include cafeterias.
  • Preliminary studies by Marieke Van Puymbroeck, assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Studies, found slight stress release benefits to caregivers who practiced yoga or walked regularly. Her research focuses on people who care for adults with chronic disease or disabilities. Around 44 million people in the U.S. are informal caregivers. "If caregivers burn out and are unable to provide care, what happens to the person they are providing care for?" Van Puymbroeck asked. Her studies are challenged by the very nature of caregiving -- caregivers have such little time for leisure activity that it is difficult to recruit them for research studies into how to help them.

Other presentations address dietary choices and arterial health (see:, national health statistics (see:, the role of physical activity in healthy aging (see: and other topics.

Cooper received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine and his Masters of Public Health from the Harvard University School of Public Health. His 1968 book Aerobics coined the term and launched a fitness movement. Cooper is president and founder of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas and author of numerous books, including Kid Fitness, Controlling Cholesterol, The Aerobics Program for Total Well-Being and Regaining the Power of Youth at Any Age. For more information about the Cooper Aerobics Center or its Cooper Institute, visit

For more information, contact Tracy James, IU Media Relations, 812-855-0084 and, or Dara Eckart, special events coordinator at HPER, and 812-855-3686.