For the first time, a White House event will bring together experts from across the country to address the unique health and fitness concerns of those with disabilities.

The two-day White House Summit and Research Forum on Improved Health and Fitness for Americans with Disabilities kicks off Monday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with educators, parents, leaders from community-based organizations and administration officials set to discuss programs that have been effective at promoting regular exercise and healthy eating among those with disabilities.

On Tuesday, the event will shift to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where stakeholders will focus on how research can help enhance health outcomes for this population, organizers said.

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The summit comes just months after a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that nearly half of adults with disabilities are physically inactive, putting them at risk for numerous health complications.

“Although there has been an increased interest in exercise and healthy diets in the general population prompted by programs such as the First Lady’s ‘Let’s Move!’ initiative, CDC reports that unfortunately people with disabilities are not participating in comparable programs that meet their needs,” said Ralph Nitkin of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

“The goals of the event are to raise national awareness of the effective models of exercise and diet we have available today, to encourage the greater participation in these programs by people with disabilities, and to explore ways to improve those models through research for better outcomes,” Nitkin said.

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