Scientific Validation

FitnessGram Advisory Board

The FitnessGram Advisory Board (FAB) plays a critical role in the sustainability and credibility of the FitnessGram assessment. The FAB includes some of the most brilliant minds and subject matter experts in the fields of kinesiology, exercise physiology, nutrition, epidemiology and health education. Advisory board members serve to:

  • Provide technical content expertise in various aspects of physical activity and physical fitness. As recognized experts in fitness and health, board members give valuable input on the structure and direction of the assessment.
  • Contribute to advancing FitnessGram research. By conducting studies on FitnessGram issues, board members help ensure that the assessment remains on solid, scientific ground.
  • Increase visibility and advocacy of FitnessGram. Through professional interactions, reputations, and contributions, board members ensure credibility among researchers, school leaders, public health officials and funding agencies.

To view the FitnessGram Reference Guide, click here.


Gregory J. Welk, PhD

Gregory J. Welk, PhD

Barbara E. Forker Professor with the Department of Kinesiology at Iowa State University

Meet Gregory

Education, Credentials, Certifications:

  • Doctor of Philosophy – Arizona State University – Exercise and Wellness
  • Master of Science – University of Iowa – Exercise Physiology
  • Bachelor of Science – University of Illinois - Bioengineering

Research Focus:

Gregory J. Welk’s research interests focus on the assessment and promotion of physical activity and fitness in different populations. He has conducted numerous studies on the reliability and validity of different physical assessment techniques and has also published extensively on the development and validation of fitness assessments. He has contributed to the ongoing refinement of health related fitness standards used in FitnessGram and has also coordinated the evaluation of a number of youth fitness initiatives in collaboration with the Cooper Institute including the NFL Play60 FitnessGram Partnership Project, the Texas Youth Fitness Project, and the development and evaluation of NetFit, a version of FitnessGram developed for Hungary. He has served as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board since 1996.

Scott Going

Scott Going, PhD

Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and in Physiological Sciences and the Director of the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition at The University of Arizona

Meet Scott

Education, Credentials, Certifications:

  • Doctor of Philosophy – University of Illinois – Exercise Physiology
  • Master of Science – University of Illinois – Exercise Physiology
  • Bachelor of Science – University of Maine – Physical Education; Health Education Minor

Research Focus:

Current projects focus on the development of body composition standards for youth and adults, school-based integrated physical activity and nutrition programs, sarcopenia, hip geometry and fractures in postmenopausal women, and the effects of exercise interventions on skeletal development and health in children and patients with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Kathleen F. Janz

Kathleen F. Janz, EdD

Professor Emeritus in the Department of Health and Human Physiology at the University of Iowa, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at the College of Public Health

Meet Kathleen

Education, Credentials, Certifications:

  • Bachelor of Science – University of Wisconsin – Physical Education & Health Education
  • Master of Arts – University of Northern Colorado – Exercise Physiology
  • Interdisciplinary Doctorate – University of Northern Colorado – Exercise Physiology, Community Health

Research Focus:

From an impressive list of 139 publications, Dr. Janz’s most recent peer-reviewed journal article for the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee is titled “Physical Activity and Health in Children Younger Than 6 Years: A Systematic Review”. Dr. Janz has had a distinguished career further exemplified by her numerous awards, honors and prestigious appointments. She was most recently charged with the development and dissemination of new information related to dietary interventions and exercises that promote bone health and protect against fractures for the Bone Health Across the Lifespan Scientific Writing Committee of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and American College of Sports Medicine. As Dr. Janz continues to work as a member of the Cooper’s Institute FitnessGram Scientific Advisory Board, she hopes that her expertise in physical activity and physical fitness, as they relate to bone outcomes, will be translated into criterion-based assessments and educational programming to improve bone health in children and adolescents.

Dolly Lambdin

Dolly Lambdin, PhD

Distinguished Faculty Inductee

Meet Dolly

Education, Credentials, Certifications:

  • Bachelors– University of Massachusetts – Physical Education
  • Masters – Teachers College, Columbia University – Physical Education Curriculum and Instruction
  • Doctor of Education – University of Texas at Austin

Research Focus:

Dolly Lambdin, EdD, is a clinical professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She has 16 years teaching experience in public and private schools grades K-8 and 37 years in teacher preparation at the university level for many years teaching mornings in the public school and afternoons at the university. She has supervised over 100 student teachers visiting thousands of public school classes and learning from scores of fabulous “cooperating teachers”. She teaches undergraduate teaching methods courses and Technology in Physical Education, Analysis of Teaching, and Current Issues in Physical Education in the masters and doctoral programs in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at UT Austin.

Dr. Lambdin is the recipient of the Texas Exes Elizabeth Shatto Massey Award for Excellence in Teacher Education (2009) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Physical Education Teacher Education Honor Award (2009), Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance College Teacher of the Year in 2008.

Dr. Lambdin served as President of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) from 2004-05 and on the writing teams for the Texas Physical Education Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in Physical Education, the National and Texas State Physical Education Beginning Teacher Standards, and NASPE’s Appropriate Practices Guidelines.

Dr. Lambdin has co-authored several texts including Putting Research to Work in Elementary Physical Education with Lawrence F. Locke, Fitness for Life Middle School, and Fitness for Life Middle School Teacher’s Guide with Chuck Corbin and Guy LeMasurier. More recently she co-authored the completion of the Fitness for Life Series, Fitness for Life: Elementary School, a comprehensive guide for school-wide support of physical activity and physical education which includes guides for classroom teachers, physical education teachers and the school wellness coordinator (Corbin, Lambdin, LeMasurier, & Greiner).

During leisure time she enjoys walking, cycling, kayaking, sewing and signing around the campfire. In the summer she spends her time in Maine enjoying living in the woods by the lake.

Matthew Mahar

Matthew Mahar, EdD

Professor and Director, School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences, San Diego State University

Meet Matthew

Education, Credentials, Certifications:

  • Doctor of Education in Exercise Science – University of Houston – Measurement and Research
  • Masters Degree in Education in Exercise Science – University of Houston
  • Bachelors of Science in Engineering – State University of New York at Cortland – Physical Education

Research Focus:

Apart from Dr. Mahar’s extensive list of awards, the San Diego State University School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences was also awarded the 2019 Inclusive Excellence Award from the American Kinesiology Association. Among Dr. Mahar’s comprehensive list of publicationsis his most recent in-press publication in the Translational Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, titled “Classroom-Based Physical Activity and On-Task Behavior”. Dr. Mahar believes that his service on the FitnessGram Advisory Board allows him to make meaningful scientific contributions to the fitness and physical activity of youth. He enjoys the spirited and passionate discussions about evidence that supports the tests they recommend. Dr. Mahar remains in service of standard-setting, prediction of health-related outcome variables and how fitness testing in schools can lead to enhanced levels of physical activity in youth when used appropriately.

James R. Morrow, Jr.

James R. Morrow, Jr., PhD

Regents Professor Emeritus in the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation at the University of North Texas

Meet James

James R. Morrow, Jr. is a Regents Professor Emeritus in the Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation at the University of North Texas. His background is in research and evaluation methodology, having conducted research on fitness testing and taught measurement, research, and evaluation courses for 40 years. He has published more than 150 manuscripts and chapters and 5 textbooks. His co-authored measurement text, Measurement, and Evaluation in Human Performance, is in its 5th edition. He presented his research annually before national and international audiences.

He has served on the FitnessGram® Advisory Committee for more than 30 years. He previously served a 4-year term on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Science Board as a member and then Chair. Morrow is a Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine, the National Academy of Kinesiology (for which he was President in 2003-2004), Fellow of SHAPE America, and Fellow of the North American Society of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Sport and Dance Professionals. He was the Editor-in-Chief of the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport (1989-1993) and founding Co-Editor (with Steven N. Blair) of the Journal of Physical Activity & Health (2004-2006). He has received numerous state and national awards for his research and service activities. Honors include the AAHPERD Scholar, AAHPERD McCloy Lecturer, AAHPERD RQES Lecturer, the AAHPERD Research Consortium Distinguished Service Award, the Measurement and Evaluation Council Lifetime Achievement Award, TAHPERD’s David K. Brace Award, SDAAHPERD Scholar, TAHPERD Honor Award, and the AAHPERD Research Consortium Writing Award (3 times). He has been Principal or Co-Investigator on research awards funded for approximately $8,000,000.

Kelly R. Laurson

Professor, School of Kinesiology and Recreation at Illinois State University

Meet Kelly

Education, Credentials, Certifications:

  • Doctor of Philosophy – Iowa State University – Kinesiology
  • Master of Science – Illinois State University – Exercise Physiology
  • Bachelors of Arts – Central College – Health Promotion
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S)

Research Focus:

Dr. Laurson was awarded the CAST Outstanding Tenured Researcher Award from the College of Applied Science and Technology at Illinois State University, as well as the University Research Initiative Award. In addition, Dr. Laurson has been published in several highly- regarded medical journals. His research interests combine physical activity epidemiology and auxology (the study of human growth and maturation) to design and evaluate criterion- referenced standards to promote healthy children. Much of his work uses nationally- representative samples of youth, growth curve models and diagnostic statistics to investigate relationships between physical fitness and various health outcomes in groups of children and adolescents. Dr. Laurson is also interested in physical activity and fitness assessment in youth.

Marilu Dooley Meredith

FitnessGram Scientific Advisory Board Member, The Cooper Institute

Meet Marilu

Education, Credentials, Certifications:

  • Doctor of Education – East Texas State University – Commerce, Health and Physical Education
  • Bachelor of Science – University of Texas – Physical Education
  • Master of Education – University of Texas – Physical Education and Special Education

Research Focus:

Dr. Meredith is a worthy recipient of Honor Award from TAHPERD (Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) and the R.L. Bohannon Award for Meritorious Service from the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research. Between 1994 and 2015, she published the Fitnessgram/Activitygram Test Administration Manual (1 st -5 th Editions), among others. Dr. Meredith started working on Fitnessgram when it began and will continue to do so as long as she is needed. She has invested “blood, sweat and tears” into Fitnessgram and wants to do all she can to help the Cooper Institute continue to provide this excellent product to the physical education profession.

Dr. Sharon Plowman

Professor Emeritus in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at Northern Illinois University

Meet Sharon

Education, Credentials, Certifications:

  • Doctor of Philosophy – University of Illinois
  • Hall of P.R.I.D.E. (Professionals Remembered in Deep Esteem) member – Northern Illinois University – Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education

Research Focus:

Dr. Plowman maintains her professional interest by revising her Exercise Physiology textbook with Dr. Denise Smith of Skidmore College. Her work in Physical Education is widely published, and she is the author of Exercise Physiology for Health, Fitness and Performance, and many more. Dr. Plowman’s significant achievement has been development, implementation and acceptance of a health-related physical fitness test for children and adolescents in conjunction with FitnessGram and the Cooper Institute. She has served as long as she has because the purpose is important, and things get done.

Georgi Roberts

Director of Health, Physical Education & Coordinated Health for Fort Worth ISD

Meet Georgi

Education, Credentials, Certifications:

  • Bachelor of Science – University of North Texas – Kinesiology
  • Master in Library Science– Texas Women’s University

Research Focus:

With several awards to her name, including the “President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Community Award” in 2007, Georgi is also listed as a co-author on several articles produced by evaluators from the CDC related to “Reducing risk: Influence of high school sexual health education” and has been published several times, with her most recent publication being “The Influence of Health Education Teacher Characteristics on Students’ Health-Related Knowledge Gains” in the Journal of School Health.

Along with her knowledge of wellness, Georgi believes in our children’s health and is currently working on the FitnessGram assessment, serving the board and planning the road map to influence how fitness data can contribute to the health of students of the 21 st Century.


 Steve N. Blair, PED
Charles B. Corbin, PhD
Kirk J. Cureton, PhD
Harold B. Falls, Jr, PhD
Baker C. Harrell, PhD
Harold U. Kohl, PhD
Timothy G. Lohman, PhD
Robert P. Pangrazi, PhD
Russell R. Pate, PhD
Jodi Prochaska, PhD, MPH
Sarajane Quinn, MS
Margaret J. Safrit, PhD
James F. Sallis, PhD
Charles Sterling, EdD, Founder