Working to Address Disparities in Childhood Physical Activity and Nutrition Outcomes
Dr. Jason Mendoza’s research seeks to address disparities in childhood physical activity and nutrition outcomes among racial/ethnic minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations through innovative behavioral interventions and policies in school and community settings.
More than one third of U.S. children and adolescents are obese or overweight, and many don’t get the minimum of 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity that healthcare providers recommend. Mendoza and his colleagues work in schools and communities to study ways to promote physical activity and healthy eating, and to encourage alternatives to TV watching and other sedentary activities.
The Mendoza team’s current research includes a physical activity study that examines whether “walking school buses” – where adults supervise groups of children as they walk to school – can prevent obesity and help kids get more physical activity. Mendoza is leading a similar, pilot study that investigates the health impacts of “bicycle train” programs, where kids are supervised while they bike to school. The team is also studying the feasibility of wearable mobile health devices (i.e., fitness bands) for improving teenagers’ physical activity.
The Mendoza team’s current nutrition research examines household food insecurity (i.e., hunger) among children with chronic diseases. He leads global health research on the influence of household food insecurity on HIV-positive children in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. Mendoza also co-leads research examining household food insecurity among U.S. adolescents and young adults with diabetes.
Jason Mendoza, MD, MPH, is a principal investigator in the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington and a UW adjunct associate professor of health services. He teaches and practices general pediatrics at Harborview Medical Center both in the pediatric clinic and on the inpatient pediatric service.