Keeping Texas Youth Fit and Healthy

By Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH FG blog post

The number one health concern among U.S. parents is childhood obesity. Being overweight can negatively impact a child’s self-esteem, behavior, friendships and even academic achievement. With one in nine American children residing in Texas, we have a “Texas-sized” problem on our hands.

Since students spend most of their time in class, schools must be part of the solution. Quality physical education that includes health-related fitness assessment helps children learn to take care of their bodies for a lifetime.

Texas’ fitness assessment, FitnessGram, was developed by The Cooper Institute and promotes lifelong fitness among students. It is meant to be non-judgmental and provides a safe, secure environment where children can better understand how their fitness impacts their future health.

Since FitnessGram has been in Texas schools, The Cooper Institute’s research continues to show that students with healthier fitness levels have stronger academics and school attendance.

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We need your help…

Right now, House Bill 2804 is being considered in the Texas Senate. If passed as amended by the Texas House, this bill would remove the requirement that Texas schools measure student fitness and would eliminate FitnessGram from all quality physical education programs.

Please contact your State Senator and tell them you want to keep our children physically active and fit. Please remove the harmful amendment which would remove physical fitness assessments.

FIND YOUR STATE SENATOR:

  1. Click here and enter your address.
  2. Scroll down to “Texas State Senator.”
  3. Click on your Senator’s name (this takes you to his or her web page).
  4. Scroll down and complete the email form. You may write your own email or copy/paste the following:

Make child health a priority in Texas. Don’t let House Bill 2804 repeal FitnessGram. Remove the harmful amendment or vote “NO” on the bill. Fit and healthy kids = a healthy future for Texas.

Thank you for supporting a healthy future generation in Texas.

Categories: Cooper Updates

The Top 9 Benefits of Camp at Cooper This Summer

By: Meredith Rosson and Brandon Moats, Cooper Camp Administrative Team

Summer camp is recognized by child development professionals as a respected experience to help youth improve socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally and physically so they can accomplish the ultimate goal of becoming an independent, responsible, confident and competent adult in the future.

Take a look at the top reasons to send your child to Cooper Fit &Fun Day Camps and Sport Camps this summer:

1. Grow your child’s confidence and level of competence: Confidence comes from what you can control and competence stems from experiences and challenges. Your child could play on a recreational soccer team and be the best player on the field, which will help him or her build confidence but not necessarily provide the opportunity to improve beyond natural talent. If you move him or her to a club soccer team to have the experience of playing against others who are at a slightly higher level than themselves, then he or she will grow into a more competent player. At camp, children will find an environment that allows them to be the best in certain activities, which builds their        confidence, but also play games or sports where they learn from coaches or other high level players to build their competence and improve.

2. Build Autonomy: Cooper Camp is an excellent way to encourage autonomy and good decision making skills in youth. Camp allows for the opportunity to “teach a camper to fish” rather than “catch a fish for them.”

3. Develop Their Own Positive Community: Cooper Camps provide an environment to try sports and build relationships without the pressure and demands of structured sports.

4. Breed Respect: Cooper Camp Counselors help participants learn to have respect through trying different levels of leadership roles and learning about each other’s differences, obligations to one another and physical and emotional needs of each other. Learning to respect yourself and others is vital to success at all ages.

5. Raise Resilient Campers: Resilience is the ability to recover from adversity. Situations can occur at camp that are not necessarily the most pleasant of circumstances, especially as kids are learning who they are, who they want to be and how to master various skills. However, there are benefits to be found in these challenges. They can motivate one to be better, try harder, learn strengths and weaknesses, build tolerance, improve communication and provide opportunities to learn and practice a new moral characteristic.

6. Collaborative Campers: Working together precedes winning together. Collaboration is the key word when it comes to meeting challenges as a team. Cooperation is merely working together agreeably, but collaborating means working together more aggressively. We encourage every camper to bring something to the table and not simply put in his or her minimum required work.

7. Mission-Conscious Games: Cooper’s camp games teach campers to look at the big picture and to make sure it resonates loud and clear. The camp games help campers work on perception, attitude, focus and results. The team games help campers understand intentionality by working with a strong sense of purpose and having a clear reason as to why they are doing the task at hand. Throughout the week, our mission-conscious games provide all campers with the opportunity to lead and contribute their best as a team member.

8. Meet Friends and Create Memories: Cooper Fun and Fit camps offer campers planned and supervised activities, but also allow them to freely take in the campus with friends so they can create special memories and friendships.

9. Our campus: The Cooper Aerobics campus is intellectually stimulating and enhances the learning process and development of cognitive skills. The trees, water and animal life provide an environment that promotes full body heath.

Cooper Fit & Fun Day Camps and Sport Camps are here to help your children improve not just athletically, but also provide them the building blocks needed to succeed in a new community and find a sense of belonging, cooperation, contribution, resilience, and care toward others. To learn more and to register your child for Cooper Fit & Fun Day Camps and Sport Camps, please visit cooperfitnesscenter.com 

Categories: Cooper Updates

Spring into Seasonal Produce

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This spring, fill your refrigerator with some fresh produce standouts that mark this time of year. Buying seasonally is optimal to receive the richest nutritional benefit and highest quality products because there’s less transport time from farm to table. Here are some tips on what to look for this season.

Asparagus

  • These spring spears come in several colors: green, white and purple.
  • They are good sources of fiber, folate, potassium and vitamins A, C, E and K.
  • A half cup serving (or 5 spears) contains 2 grams of fiber and only 20 calories.
  • To properly store asparagus, wrap the stem ends in damp paper towels for several days. To further extend their freshness, refrigerate the stalks with the tips side up in a cup of shallow water.
  • Enjoy grilled, roasted or sautéed using a small amount of olive oil, or simply steam and then season with a dash of sea salt for a low-calorie side dish.

Peas

  • There are three types of peas: English (or green), snow (Chinese pea pods) and snap (or sugar snap) peas.
  • English peas, sometimes called sweet peas, can be eaten raw, but are often served cooked.
    • The pods need to be removed before eating, unlike their counterparts.
    • They are higher in protein and fiber with a 1/2 cup cooked containing 62 calories, 4.4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.
    • You can find them in frozen individual serving size containers for a convenient microwave side dish.
  • Snow peas are flat and contain very small peas inside, but the whole pod is edible.
    • They are a classic ingredient in stir-fry recipes.
  • Snap peas are a cross between snow peas and English peas and can be eaten whole in their pods.
    • You may need to remove the stringy seam before eating, but stringless varieties are also available.
    • This popular pea (and my personal favorite) is a delicious crunchy snack or steamed side dish.
    • Both snow and snap peas have a similar nutrient profile: one cup raw has 26 calories, 2.5 grams of fiber and 1.8 grams of protein.

Radishes

  • As a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, radishes are available year-round, but are smaller, sweeter and crunchier in spring.
  • They are one of the easiest and fastest vegetables to grow in your garden, which is perfect for novice or young budding gardeners!
  • One cup of sliced radishes has only 19 calories.
  • Proper storage is the key to retaining flavor and freshness of these little bulbs. They can last up to a month in the refrigerator!
    • Cut the tops off the radish and leave ½ inch of the stem attached to the top of the bulb.
    • Place them in a perforated plastic storage bag or open plastic bag to allow for air circulation.
  • Beyond serving crunchy radishes raw in salads or as a low-calorie snack, try incorporating them in stir-fry recipes, soups and stews.

Strawberries

  • These sweet-seeded berries are in their peak from April to June.
  • They are a nutrition powerhouse for vitamin C–exceeding 100 percent of our daily recommended needs.
  • Strawberries are also a good source of folic acid, potassium and fiber.
  • For only 55 calories per cup (or eight medium-sized berries), they offer 3.5 grams of fiber.
  • Strawberries are best when purchased from a local source because they tend to retain their sweetness when handled delicately, and they tend to endure less damage during a shorter transport.
  • I enjoy sliced strawberries on fresh spinach salads, but you can also indulge in a bowl with a light whipped topping for a guiltless dessert!

Other Spring Produce Stars:

  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Fava Beans
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubard

What are some of your favorite springtime vegetables and fruits?

Categories: Cooper Updates

Low Calorie Pasta Swap: Shirataki!

March 12, 2015 1 comment

Who doesn’t love pasta! But an average serving contains so many calories and carbs that most of us either splurge to the point of excess or skimp to the point of deprivation. What if there was actually a noodle that was low in calories and can satisfy your carb cravings? Introducing the Shirataki noodle.

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What are Shirataki Noodles?

Tofu Shirataki noodles are translucent, gelatinous Japanese noodles made from konjac yam. They come pre-cooked and pre-packaged in small refrigerated bags. Though a bit watery at first with a slight odor, once prepared, these noodles absorb the flavors of what they are cooked in. Because they are pre-cooked, their consistency and texture is softer than regular noodles. They come in fun shapes like fettuccine, spaghetti, macaroni, and angel hair (but watch out for the tangles in the angel hair!). Once only found in Asian markets, you can now buy them in many grocery stores in the refrigerated section, by the produce, near the tofu and other vegetarian items.

How to Prepare:

There is an art to preparing these little noodles, but it’s fool proof if you follow a few important steps:

  • Empty noodles into a strainer, and rinse them with running water to get rid of the liquid in the package.
  • Dry them as thoroughly as possible by blotting very well with paper towels. Remove as much liquid moisture as you can- this is VERY important!
  • Cut up the long strands with kitchen shears- it’s actually pretty fun!
  • Heat noodles for a minute or two in the microwave or in a skillet on the stove. Blot noodles once more if you use the microwave.

Shirataki Nutrition Facts:

Per serving (4 oz., ½ bag):

10 calories, 0.5g fat, 15mg sodium, 3g carbs, 2g fiber, 0g sugar, <1g protein

There are a lot of recipes available using these “magical” noodles. Explore a range to fit your taste, such as Low Mein, Fettuccine Alfredo, Tuna Noodle Casserole, Chicken Pad Thai, Shrimp Scampi with Fettuccine, and the list goes on. Remember to use low fat ingredient swaps for healthier leaner pasta dishes. Also, bulk up your entrée with tons of veggies for a filling, satisfying dish that rivals other high calorie pasta meals!

So now you really can have your pasta, and eat it too!!

Categories: Cooper Updates

Happy 84th Birthday, Dr. Cooper!

Today at Cooper Aerobics we are celebrating Dr. Cooper’s birthday! He is known throughout the world for being a visionary and as the “father of aerobics.” To celebrate his 84th birthday, let’s take a look at his accomplishments this past year and how he continues to inspire millions each day to live longer, healthier lives.

February 2015
Dr. Cooper proudly joined United Way of Metropolitan Dallas to celebrate 90 years of service. In partnership with United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, The Cooper Institute is able to promote health in schools with Healthy Zone School Recognition Program, now reaching 90 area schools!

George Graffy, Male of the Year

January 2015
For his impact on the football community, Dr. Cooper was honored as a 2015 inductee into National Football Foundation Leadership Hall of Fame at the Omni Dallas Hotel as the kickoff event for the College Football Playoff National Championship weekend. In addition to hundreds gathering together to honor Dr. Cooper on Jan. 8, his family and some of his closest colleagues contributed to a video in his honor, watch here!

George Graffy, Male of the Year

December 2014
With his son, Dr. Tyler Cooper and staff members of Cooper Fitness Center, Dr. Cooper honored the 2014 Members of the Year.  Ranging from the two “Youth of Year” at 11 and 12 years old to the “Classic of the Year,” Dr. Cooper’s patient and longtime friend at 97 years old. Read about each of the members honored and see their photos taken with Drs. Kenneth and Tyler Cooper on the blog.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

November 2014
Dr. Cooper warmed up with Frito-Lay by doing a few stretches with CEO Tom Greco before he presented to an employee group. Did you know 12 years ago Dr. Cooper made the recommendation to remove trans-fats from Frito Lay products? The project resulted in 50 million pounds of trans fats removed from the American diet every year!

George Graffy, Male of the Year

October 2014
The Cooper Institute® rolled out the Hungarian version of the Cooper International Fitness Test™ in Hungary at the three-day conference after signing a partnership agreement with the Hungarian School Sport Federation in 2013. Dr. Cooper addressed the topic of childhood obesity before stakeholders of the European Union. The partnership was formed to establish a national framework for student fitness assessments in Hungary, reaching more than 1.2 million children in 4,000 schools. Read the press release at cooperaerobics.com/Media.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

September 2014

The American Heart Association celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Dallas Heart Walk and honored Dr. Cooper as the Honorary Chairman. Dr. Cooper led the first Dallas Heart Walk in 1992 with just 500 walkers and raised $50,000 and now Dallas has the largest Heart Walk in the nation. In 2014, Dr. Cooper led the walk with his son Dr. Tyler Cooper as the Board President of the American Heart Association—Dallas Division with more than 60,000 walkers, raising nearly $5.5 million. Thank you to everyone who supported the Cooper Aerobics team!

George Graffy, Male of the Year

August 2014
Cooper Aerobics is the feature article in the Preston Hollow Advocate this month. What started out as a renovation story, evolved into an entire feature. The writer spent hours on campus with our experts including Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Cooper, Dr. Tyler Cooper, Dr. DeFina and Houston Nichols (who grew up in the Nichols’ Mansion). Read the story here.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

July 2014
BIG things happen everyday on the Cooper Aerobics campus! Dr. Cooper and many teammates, members and clients posed on campus to be the “I” in BIG like Dr. Cooper. View all of the photos on Cooper Aerobics Facebook page.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

June 2014
Dr. Cooper named his son, Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cooper Aerobics. In addition to practicing preventive medicine, Dr. Tyler Cooper oversees the company’s seven health and wellness businesses. Dr. Cooper remains as Chairman and Founder of Cooper Aerobics. Read the press release at cooperaerobics.com/Media.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

May 2014
As an internal update for all 650 Cooper Aerobics employees, “State of Cooper” is held each spring. Dr. Cooper introduced the meeting by saying “Play Ball” with a playful baseball theme. The media panel included members of the Senior Leadership team to provide corporate updates.

April 2014
Cooper Hotel hosts a group of professional referees who train at Cooper Aerobics every quarter. Dr. Cooper shared his soccer history from the late ’60s and ’70s in Brazil. They loved meeting him and taking photos, but teased him a little for creating the dreaded Cooper Test or ‘cooperteszt’ which is a fitness test commonly used for professional referees.

George Graffy, Male of the Year

March 2014
As part of Cooper Aerobics Center’s multi-million dollar renovation, Drs. Cooper began the renovation of Cooper Hotel by pulling up the carpet to lay out the new. The renovation has refreshed the 61 guest rooms, meeting rooms and public spaces. Blending elegant sophistication with modern touches, guests will stay well at Cooper Hotel. The renovation is expected to be completed this spring. Read the press release at cooperaerobics.com/Media.

Here’s to a happy, healthy 84th year, Dr. Cooper!

This year, we celebrate 45 years of inspiring millions to live longer, healthier lives.

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Dietitians’ Top 10 “Convenience” Health Foods

February 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Healthy eating starts with what you put in your cart. You can’t go wrong with keeping these staples on your grocery list to make healthy eating convenient for your busy lifestyle. Cooper Clinic dietitians weigh in with their favorite Top 10 Convenience Health Foods.

  1. Fresh fruit. Fruit is the world’s “original” fast food. Pick a variety for meals and snacks.
  2. Bagged salad greens. Throw a salad together in a pinch. These pre-washed greens can be served up as a side dish or main entrée with chopped chicken or canned tuna.
  3. Fish fillets. Individually frozen fish filets (salmon, cod, halibut, sole, and tilapia) are lean proteins and take just a few minutes to broil.
  4. Whole grains. Frozen corn and 90-second brown rice are good sources of fiber, low sodium, and healthy sides to compliment your meal.
  5. Yogurt. Select nonfat Greek yogurt for a high protein snack or after-dinner treat with fresh fruit topping.
  6. Frozen vegetables. Pop these in the microwave for a quick side dish.
  7. Canned beans. Simply rinse to reduce sodium by 40% and add to salads, soups and stews.
  8. Canned tomatoes. Buy low-sodium tomatoes to add to pasta, soups, sauces and casseroles.
  9. Nuts. One small handful of nuts is a perfect snack to carry you to the next meal.
  10. Oatmeal. One of dietitian’s top-pick cereals as a filling source of fiber and heart healthy breakfast that takes only a few minutes to cook in the microwave.

To learn more tips and advice from Cooper Clinic Dietitians, join us March 2 for the Cooper Nutrition Expo! With 40-plus vendors and new products all devoted to your good health, this event is FREE and open to the public. View more details and the list of vendors here.

Heart Health Boosting Foods

February 17, 2015 Leave a comment

This month we celebrate heart health. There are many powerful foods that deliver big benefits to reduce your risk of heart disease. Here are a few super-stars that you may want to incorporate into your routine. All of these foods are loaded with heart-protective components that will keep your heart strong and pumping.

Salmon
This fatty fish ranks high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats may reduce inflammation throughout the body which can cause damage to your blood vessels and lead to heart disease. These healthy fats may also lower cholesterol, blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke and risk for heart failure. Try to eat fatty fish, like salmon, two to three times a week.

Blueberries
These berries are bursting with antioxidants, specifically the phytonutrient polyphenol. Anti-oxidants are potent substances that reduce inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of heart disease, along with other chronic diseases. Add blueberries to yogurt or smoothies. Frozen blueberries are just as nutritionally packed as fresh!

Avocados
Everyone loves avocados! These fruits are packed with mono-unsaturated fat that bumps up your good HDL cholesterol and lowers risk of heart disease. Recent research shows a link between consuming avocados daily and reducing bad LDL cholesterol. Avocados also contain vitamin B 6 and folic acid which are also beneficial to your heart. Enjoy avocados in salads or as a sandwich spread instead of mayo several times a week.

Walnuts
Walnuts contain a wealth of omega-3 fats in the world of nuts. If you’re not a fan of salmon or other fatty fish, this is a great way to fit these fats into your diet. Walnuts also contain vitamin E which is an antioxidant that may protect your heart. Enjoy walnuts on salads or as a crunchy snack. Try to eat nuts at least 3 times a week- 4 or five times is even better!

Oatmeal
Oatmeal is good news for your heart. The type of soluble fiber in oats, beta-glucans, forms a gooey mass in your stomach, trapping cholesterol and transporting it out of the body before it can get absorbed into your blood, thus lowering your LDL cholesterol levels. It takes about 1 ½ cups of cooked oatmeal (equal to ¾ cups dry) to get the maximum benefit. Try to eat oatmeal several times a week. Top with blueberries and walnuts- two other star foods on the list!

For information on nutrition consultations at Cooper Clinic visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.

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