A White House summit next week focused on improving health and fitness for Americans with disabilities will include the voice of a UC Irvine pediatrician nationally renowned for childhood exercise research.

Dr. Dan Cooper, founding director of UCI’s Pediatric Exercise and Genomics Research Center and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, has been invited to discuss the benefits of clinically tested exercise regimens for children with chronic diseases and disabilities at the White House Summit & Research Forum on Improved Health & Fitness for Americans with Disabilities. The event will take place Oct. 6-7 in Washington, D.C., in the Great Hall of the Hubert H. Humphrey Building.

Speaking on a panel for exercise physiology on Oct. 7, Cooper will outline the work accomplished by PERC researchers, focusing on the positive effects of exercise – stimulating the growth of many tissues, strengthening the immune system and curbing obesity. He will also stress the need to pursue rigorous translational and clinical studies to understand how to properly “prescribe” exercise to maximize its benefits in children. Cooper said that the number of children and adults with long-term diseases and disabilities, ranging from cerebral palsy to cystic fibrosis, is increasing. Typically, these individuals are simply unable to exercise with the same intensity, frequency and duration as their peers, and more often than not, they live completely sedentary lifestyles.

“We simply do not yet know how to provide these children and adults with the necessary and powerful ‘medicine’ of exercise to advance health across the lifespan. The clinical and research communities must work together to build a robust biological basis for the ‘exercise prescription’ in children with chronic diseases and disabilities,” said Cooper, who also directs UCI’s Institute for Clinical & Translational Science, which supports PERC efforts.