International Experts Gather at UMass Amherst Conference to Discuss Children and Exercise

AMHERST, Mass. - A group of international experts in the field of pediatric exercise science will gather at the University of Massachusetts for the biennial meeting of the North American Society of Pediatric Exercise Medicine (NASPEM) Aug. 6-9.

Issues to be discussed include how gender affects physiological responses to exercise in children, menstrual disorders in young women athletes, and the nutritional needs of physically active children. The keynote speaker is Claude Bouchard of Laval University in Canada, who will kick off the event with a talk titled "Genetics of Cardiorespiratory Endurance: Implications for Children" on Thursday, Aug. 6.

The conference will include five main lectures, a clinical roundtable, and informal discussions and reactions following the lectures. The conference is co-sponsored by the UMass department of exercise science and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. Other co-sponsors are M&M Mars, Inc., Human Kinetics, and Gatorade.

Organizers say the conference should play a key role in expanding researchers’ understanding of how exercise affects children. "The closing decades of the twentieth century have witnessed an expanding interest in the study of exercise in children," says Patty Freedson, a member of the UMass exercise science department and co-director of the conference along with Tom Rowland of Baystate Medical Center. "As the year 2000 approaches, it is timely to examine recent progress in the field of pediatric exercise and consider directions the new century will take us."

University faculty who will participate include Freedson, Priscilla Clarkson, associate dean of the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, and Stella Volpe, department of nutrition.

Other conference participants are Neil Armstrong, University of Exeter, England; Bruce Alpert, University of Tennessee; Obed Bar-Or, McMaster University, Canada; Lee Cunningham, Fitchburg State College; Mary Jane DeSouza, New Britian General Hospital; James Skinner, Indiana University; and Reggie Washington, Rocky Mountain Pediatric Cardiology center.