This application requests support to strategically enhance the reach and impact of the first Latin American Congress on Physical Activity and Health Research, taking place in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in April 15-17, 2020. The sponsoring institution for this application is Washington University in St. Louis, and the PI is Deborah Salvo. The conference venue is the main campus of the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico, which is the leading research, surveillance, and educational public health institution in Latin America. Other confirmed sponsoring partners are the Secretariat of Health of Mexico and the Pan American Health Organization (World Health Organization). Physical inactivity is a global pandemic,1 and is an underlying cause of thirteen site-specific cancers.2 Physical activity also has demonstrated benefits for cancer management.3 One in three Latin Americans are insufficiently active and the burden of cancer in the region is high.4, 5 Among US Latinos, 55.5% do not meet aerobic physical activity guidelines,6 and cancer constitutes the first cause of death.7, 8 In spite of the magnitude and burden of the problem, high-quality physical activity research on Latin American populations has been lacking until recently.9 For the first time, there is a critical mass of well-trained and motivated investigators working together to build momentum and push this field forward in Latin America. Dr. Salvo (PI) and a team of Latin American colleagues from seven countries will formally launch the Latin American Society of Physical Activity and Health Research (SLIAFS) at the Congress. The conference objective is to provide a knowledge exchange and scientific networking venue for Latin American researchers, as well as international researchers conducting work with Latin American populations. This will be the first research-focused scientific conference of its kind for the region. The venue for the first edition of the Congress and all required spaces, materials, audiovisual technology, website, and local logistics for carrying out a high-quality conference have been secured. Over twenty physical activity and health researchers from Latin America and the US have confirmed attendance with funds beyond those sought with this proposal. This proposal requests support for the attendance of twelve leading global experts in physical activity and cancer research, all of whom have accepted the invitation to participate as conference speakers. This will allow us to achieve the following specific aims: 1) maximize the international reach of the Congress by convening key leading global experts as invited speakers; 2) include cancer prevention and control as a special emphasis topic of the Congress; 3) include a strong capacity-building component for early career physical activity and cancer researchers; and 4) evaluate and disseminate the Congress?s results through two peer reviewed published articles, conference presentations, social media, research and policy briefs, and a formal post-conference evaluation.
Physical inactivity is one of the leading underlying causes of global mortality and perhaps more importantly of preventable morbidity and mortality. Local, regional and global research capacity and scientific production in the area of physical activity are key strategies for improving public health policies, programs and actions for physical activity promotion. The Latin American Congress of Physical Activity and Health will be the first conference of its kind in the region, bringing together leading global researchers and policy experts to define and advance a research agenda for improving physical activity promotion and cancer prevention for Latin American populations.