BOONE—Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador, recently visited Appalachian State University’s Human Performance Lab located at the N.C. Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis to learn more about the facility’s work to improve athletes’ and the general population’s fitness.
Correa and other Ecuadorian dignitaries also visited labs operated at NCRC by UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State University.
Correa was on a “fact finding mission,” according to Dr. Andrew Shanely with Appalachian’s research facility, and plans to build an entire city devoted to science.
The Human Performance Lab, which is also part of Appalachian’s College of Health Sciences, is directed by Dr. David C. Nieman who presented an overview of the lab’s research activities. Nieman also met briefly with José Francisco Cevallos, Ecuador’s minister of sports, and Daniela Cajas, the director for research within the Ministry of Sports.
“Ecuador is building a new ‘city of knowledge’ and wanted to compare notes on their plans for the center with the activities at the N.C. Research Campus,” Nieman said.
“The Ecuadorian government is interested in human performance research and wants to develop a performance lab that will help prepare athletes for international competition,” he said.
Ecuador has many unique plants that scientists want to test to determine their application for improved health and fitness, Nieman said. And like in the U.S. and other parts of the world, Ecuadoran children are experiencing health problems related to being overweight.
Nieman has been invited to Ecuador to meet with leaders there for further talks related to fitness and population health. “Overall, I think it will be a good collaboration between Appalachian, Ecuador and the N.C. Research Campus in doing what we can to help the country address the health concerns of its population,” he said.