Scientists from around the world gathered at LLU earlier this month to increase knowledge of how physical activity and nutrition impact health. They spoke during the 25th symposium of the International Council for Physical Activity and Fitness Research (ICPAFR), which met September 2–4.
The council, which was established in 1964, hosts biennial conferences at locations around the globe; this year’s event was hosted by Loma Linda University School of Public Health.
Nearly 120 people attended the symposium. One of them was Marcia Chung, RN, MS, of Redlands, who came because she wanted to learn more about bone density, exercise, and weight management. “I have a lot of obese patients, and they ask me questions, so it’s nice to get current information on weight loss,” she says.
Disseminating specialized knowledge to practitioners such as Ms. Chung is the aim of the symposium, according to Franco Viviana, president of ICPAFR, who is with the University of Padua, in Italy. He notes that the scientific level of the conference was high, including speakers who proposed new ideas in fitness, nutrition, and body composition.
Presenters discussed a wide range of topics related to physical activity and nutrition. These included the affects of exercise on body composition, the relationship between physical activity and bone health, and eating disorders in sports.
ICPAFR board member Toivo Jurimae, PhD, of the University of Tartu, in Estonia, notes that physical inactivity is a significant challenge for our society. “It is one of our tasks to explain to people why physical activity is necessary,” he says.
Zaida Cordero-MacIntyre, PhD, of the LLU School of Public Health and the Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine, organized and chaired the event and was one of its speakers. She was assisted in the planning by Venice Brown of the School of Public Health.
Dr. Cordero-MacIntyre notes that one of the goals of ICPAFR’s biennial symposium is to establish a network of academicians and researchers to foster research collaborations. During her first participation in an ICPAFR conference, held in 2002 in Tartu, Estonia, Dr. Cordero-MacIntyre met Jean Medelli, MD, from Amiens, France. From that point on, they have collaborated to study the bone mineral density of professional cyclists from the Tour de France. Recently, they had a paper from this study accepted for publication in the upcoming issue of The Journal of Clinical Densitometry.
A highlight of this year’s symposium was the recognition of Timothy Lohman, PhD, according to Dr. Cordero-MacIntyre. An emeritus professor at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Dr. Lohman was honored for his lifetime research contributions to the field of sports science and body composition.
The next ICPAFR symposium is planned for the year 2010 in South Africa. Marius Coetsee, PhD, a professor from the department of human movement science at South Africa’s Zululand University, will organize and chair the event. Dr. Cordero-MacIntyre will be one of the invited speakers.