UC Irvine Health pediatrician to speak at White House summit

October 02, 2014
UC Irvine Health pediatrician and childhood exercise expert Dr. Dan Cooper to speak at White House summit

UC Irvine Health pediatrician Dr. Dan Cooper, a national expert on childhood exercise, will speak at a White House summit on improving health and fitness for Americans with disabilities.

Cooper, founding director of the UC Irvine Pediatric Exercise and Genomics Research Center and chair of the the School of Medicine's 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 takes 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 the center's 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, who also directs the UC Irvine Institute for Clinical & Translational Science, 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 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," Cooper said. "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.”

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