Back to School Means New Beginnings

Back to school is a time for new beginnings, and that usually brings change.  For our youth programs, that change comes in the form of a newly redesigned digital newsletter. This new format brings all of our youth health and fitness initiatives under one monthly issue to help demonstrate the overall impact of our programs on children across the country. 

Whether you are involved in Healthy Zone Schools, NFL PLAY 60 or FitnessGram, all of our programs have one singular focus – to make this generation of students the most active and healthy they can be. Each of these programs is designed to increase physical activity, improve overall health, and instill healthy habits in students that they can carry with them into adulthood.     

Physical inactivity is one of the greatest threats to the health of our children and is a major contributing cause of childhood obesity. This sets our children up for a lifetime of related chronic health conditions that can drastically affect or shorten a person’s life, such as diabetes, heart disease, and various forms of cancer. 

Our school-based programs, including Healthy Zone Schools and NFL PLAY 60, rely on the FitnessGram assessment and software tool. The information obtained from FitnessGram can provide valuable insight into the current health status of a child as well as setting realistic physical fitness goals to improve a child’s overall health.  

The Cooper Institute worked diligently this past year to redevelop the student fitness report card, making it easier for parents and students to understand their child’s fitness assessment. 

We also just launched a new and improved FitnessGram website. Feel free to click and explore the new site at fitnessgram.net.

Lastly, we are extremely excited that the NFL Foundation has decided to renew our grant for the NFL PLAY 60 FitnessGram Project. The revamped program focuses more on collaboration between our PLAY 60 partners (Fuel Up to PLAY 60, American Heart Association, and USA Football), structured implementation of PLAY 60 initiatives, and a robust evaluation of the project.

To celebrate, we have put out a new video to tell the world about the NFL PLAY 60 FitnessGram Project. Please feel free to share with your schools and across your social media channels. 

On behalf of The Cooper Institute, I would like to wish you a healthful beginning to the 2019 – 2020 school year. Fitness is the key and this is the best time for families, teachers, and school leaders to focus on building healthier students and healthier communities now Well. Into the Future.


Written by Andjelka Pavlovic, PhD

Dr. Pavlovic is the Director of Youth Research and Education for The Cooper Institute and is a double-certified personal trainer. Her research focus is muscular strength/endurance, cardiorespiratory fitness, and the impact of both on chronic diseases and health outcomes.