Volunteers March Forth! to Oklahoma for Youth Fitness

From left to right: Dan Little, Dr. Ashley Weedn, Rep. Danny Sterling, Virginia Mitchell, John Bozalis, Stephanie Canada-Phillips, Julie Woolslayer, Dudley Hyde

Childhood obesity and physical inactivity is one of the greatest threats to our children’s health

On March 11 during the 57th Legislature, volunteers and staff from The Cooper Institute Marched Forth! to Oklahoma to share the importance of building a healthier generation now and Well. Into the Future.

Leading the charge to reduce childhood obesity in Oklahoma is House District 27 Rep. Danny Sterling, who is also the nephew of Millie Cooper, wife of Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper.

Oklahoma passes HB1051 with a vote of 61-31!

March Forth! to Oklahoma

Thank you to everyone who helped push this through to improve student health and wellness with FitnessGram assessment in physical education classes! The Cooper Institute especially wants to thank the students and teachers representing OAHPERDUniversity of Central OklahomaSouthwestern Oklahoma State UniversityHealthy Schools OKShedeck ElementarySouthern Hills Elementary SchoolLone Grove Primary School who spread out across the capitol to talk with lawmakers about this important initiative!

“It is clear we must continue to look at improving the health and education of our children,” said Rep. Sterling.

Attorney Dan Little, who recently became the oldest man in the world at age 76 to complete the World Marathon Challenge. Little is serving as the development chair for March Forth! to Oklahoma to garner support from the business community.

“It will take everyone working together to advance the shared vision of a healthy Oklahoma with a stronger workforce,” said Little.

March Forth! is named in honor of Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s birthday, which falls on March 4. His pioneering research on aerobic fitness helped make FitnessGram by The Cooper Institute the most widely-used student fitness assessment in the country.

Dr. Cooper and Dan Little watch live as Oklahoma legislators vote to approve H1051.

This initiative provided the opportunity to ensure that students in Oklahoma are physically fit, healthy and successful in school and as part of the future workforce. By adopting FitnessGram as the statewide fitness assessment in public schools, Oklahoma leaders can get an accurate picture of youth health and the data needed to make the best decisions for their future.

Obesity and physical inactivity can lead to a life filled with costly chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more.

Nearly 74% of Oklahoma’s young adults (17-24 years old) are ineligible to serve in the military primarily due to obesity-related issues – an alarming issue for national security. Over 58% of Oklahoma’s overall population is projected to be obese by 2030.

Our goal is for all Oklahoma elementary and middle school students to get the quality physical education they need to be more successful in and out of the classroom. The Cooper Institute is working with business leaders, elected officials, and state and national coalitions to advance public health policies such as this to create a healthier generation and a stronger workforce.

To get involved, or for more information, please contact Amy Johnson at ajohnson@cooperinst.org or at 214-543-6533.


Written by Breanna Palmeiro