Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana Governor visits ISU, encourages Hoosiers to continue fitness efforts

September 29, 2009

During a stop at Indiana State University Tuesday, Gov. Mitch Daniels commended community leaders for their efforts in helping Hoosiers attain a higher level of fitness.

He bragged about the state's influence in curtailing Hoosiers' cigarette smoking habits, but he's not yet ready to claim victory against the battle of bulge.

"We are 20 percent down in cigarette sales over the last three years," he said, and "I am convinced we are drifting down on the list of most overweight states."

Daniels briefly addressed a crowd of nearly 400 people who attended the INShape Indiana event at ISU and spoke of the commitment he took on five years ago to promote personal and organizational fitness with his INShape initiative.

Daniels continues to challenge Hoosiers to eat better, move more, and avoid tobacco, but he commended individuals who have changed their lives through weight loss.

"One of the greatest joys of this job ... as your employee" is hearing Hoosiers' success stories, he said. "I so admire the will of someone who overcomes a life pattern and makes a commitment" to lose weight.

Daniels referenced the ongoing debate over national healthcare reform and insisted that a commitment to improving our own health offers the best solution to the overarching problem.

Daniels' message served as a transition to keynote speaker Dr. Kenneth Cooper who is considered the "father of aerobics."

"Obesity is killing us physically and ruining the cost of healthcare," Cooper said.

Cooper introduced to the world the concept of aerobic exercise 41 years ago when he authored his first bestseller titled "Aerobics." Cooper has since dedicated his life to promoting fitness worldwide.

During the INShape Indiana event, Cooper discussed the impact of a 1989 report released by The Cooper Institute that underscored the significance of preventative medicine. The report concluded that individuals who went from sedentary to moderately fit lifestyles significantly reduced their risk of disease.

Twenty years later the message is still the same, but Cooper's most recent round of research is focused on school-aged children in Texas.

If we don't do something to improve the health of the nation's children, "this may be the first generation in which parents live longer than their children," Cooper said.

Determining the level of health and fitness of Hoosier children is the first step in reversing child obesity in Indiana, Cooper said. He encouraged Hoosiers to move forward with the same sorts of legislation that helped him place his Fitnessgram equipment in Texas schools and test more than 2.4 million students during the 2007-2008 school year.

"I am here today to challenge you in Indiana to find out what your problem is," Cooper said.

INShape Indiana was sponsored by ISU, the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana Rural Health Association.


Photos:; cutline: Dr. Kenneth Cooper discusses the epidemic of obesity with those in attendance at INShape Indiana on Sept. 29.; cutline: Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels encourages Hoosiers to continue their efforts to get in shape during INShape Indiana on Sept. 29.

Writer: Rachel Wedding McClelland, assistant director of media relations, Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University at 812-237-3790 or