DALLAS and NEW YORK, June 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For millions of students across the country, there is one voice that both incites fear and fires up the competitive spirit in P.E. class - the voice of the FitnessGram PACER Test. Now the legendary voice of the school fitness test is changing. The Cooper Institute is proud to announce the launch of the FitnessGram PACER Test Remixes! powered by Hip Hop Public Health.

The new album is a collaboration between The Cooper Institute and Hip Hop Public Health, two organizations dedicated to improving youth fitness, reducing childhood obesity, and promoting life-long healthy habits through research and education. The June 22 album release coincides with the 50th anniversary of The Cooper Institute, founded in 1970 by Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper to improve public health through fitness research and education.

The Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) Test has been used for decades as part of FitnessGram by The Cooper Institute, the leading evidence-based fitness assessment tool used in thousands of schools in all 50 states. The test measures aerobic capacity, muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and body composition to determine the overall physical health of students. Research from FitnessGram helps school administrators, healthcare advocates and policymakers make evidence-based decisions that improve the health of our nation’s youth.

“We are truly excited to merge the evidence-based FitnessGram PACER Test with the fresh beats and diverse voices of Hip Hop Public Health,” said Andjelka Pavlovic, Ph.D., Director of Youth Research and Education for The Cooper Institute. “This is an exciting transformation of the classic test that makes fitness fun for all. Together, we can make the greatest impact to student health across the nation so they go on to live active, healthy lives.”

The six new tracks revitalize the decades-old fitness test with a fusion of hip-hop, pop, electronic dance music, and Latin-inspired beats, bringing a DJ dance party vibe to the gym. The iconic voice of the original test has been replaced by both male and female voices in English and Spanish to motivate and encourage participants throughout each of the 22-minute tracks. New instrumental tracks were also added to keep students motivated during any type physical activity. The combination of diverse voices and culturally relevant beats is designed to inspire a new generation of students to get active and stay healthy now and well into adulthood. 

“The revitalization of the classic FitnessGram PACER Test is a landmark initiative,” says Lori Rose Benson, Executive Director and CEO of Hip Hop Public Health. “Physical education and physical activity are paramount to the mental and physical development of young people. These refreshing new motivational tracks will inspire students to form a lasting appreciation for physical fitness.”

An interview with Benson is featured in a new documentary film titled “Line Up At the Start: The Search For the Voice of the FitnessGram.” Students at the Beacon School in New York produced the film as part of a student film competition. The film features interviews with Roger Francisco, the original voice of the PACER Test, as well as Dr. Charles Sterling, the “Father of FitnessGram.”  

The tracks are available to stream and download at Fitnessgram.net, HHPH.org, and most popular streaming platforms including Spotify, Apple Music, iHeartRadio, YouTube and TikTok.  As part of the NFL PLAY 60 FitnessGram Project, an ongoing collaboration with The Cooper Institute, the Fuel Up to Play 60 Youth Council will be hosting a #pacerremixchallenge using the tracks on TikTok and other social media. The Youth Council wants to challenge teens to get active for 60 minutes a day by trying the new PACER Test Remixes! at home, as well as using their voices to spread the word to their peers about the opportunity.

Fuel Up to Play 60 Youth Council Leader and Rising Senior Jimena says, “As a student who has worked closely with both Fuel Up to Play 60 and The Cooper Institute, I could not be more excited about the amazing collaboration that is blossoming! Not only will this facilitate access to fantastic resources, but it will represent a great benefit to the health and wellness of youth and their families.”

Research shows that physical activity and healthy eating can improve students’ physical, mental, and cognitive well-being. In fact, research produced by The Cooper Institute for the project proves that students who participate in 60 minutes of daily physical activity boast improved cardio fitness, healthier body weight, improved attendance and higher academic scores.

ABOUT THE COOPER INSTITUTE 
FitnessGram by The Cooper Institute is the leading evidence-based physical fitness assessment and reporting tool to promote health-related fitness education for millions of students across the country. The program allows school leaders, educators and policymakers to make data-driven decisions that improve student health and is part of The Cooper Institute’s mission to promote life-long health and wellness through research and education. To learn more, visit FitnessGram.net or CooperInstitute.org.

ABOUT HIP HOP PUBLIC HEALTH
Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH) is an internationally recognized organization that creates and implements multimedia public health interventions designed to improve health literacy, inspire behavior change and promote health equity. Through a research-driven developmental process created by Columbia University Neurologist and Professor, Dr. Olajide Williams, legendary rapper Doug E. Fresh, and led by physical education veteran and public health leader Lori Rose Benson, HHPH works with socially conscious artists and public health experts to create scalable, highly engaging, culturally responsive music and multimedia "edutainment" tools. HHPH uses validated models of behavior change and evidenced-based research to develop original content and is committed to an iterative cycle of program evaluation, academic research and resource refinement. To learn more, visit HHPH.org.

ABOUT FUEL UP TO PLAY 60
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Football League (NFL) and National Dairy Council (NDC), which was founded by America's dairy farmers, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. The program additionally encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. As a result of the program, 14 million students are making better food choices and 18 million are more physically active. Visit FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.

MEDIA CONTACT: Amber Freeland
972-341-3291 (direct)
214-476-9826 (cell)
afreeland@cooperinst.org