Mendoza Lab

Current Research

Evaluation of a Walking School Bus Program

With funding from the National Cancer Institute, the Mendoza team is leading a five-year study of a program called the "walking school bus," where adults supervise groups of kids as they walk to school. The study's researchers and staff oversee walking school buses in low-income areas where childhood obesity rates are highest. The goals include helping kids become more physically active and maintain a healthy body weight, and teaching them how to walk and bike safely. The study was featured in a recent KOMO news story, and six Seattle schools are participating for the 2015-2016 school year. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray have kindly helped with walking school bus kick offs events for this project.


Evaluation of a Bicycle Train Program

With funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Mendoza and his colleagues are conducting a pilot study to investigate the health impacts of "bicycle train" programs in low-income areas, where kids are supervised while they bike to school. Study participants get free bikes and safety training from the Cascade Bicycle Club, and learn bike maintenance from Bike Works. As featured in KOMO and Huffington Post news stories, this study could provide important preliminary data to motivate a larger study, which could help determine whether bicycle trains should be incorporated into public policy.


Improving Physical Activity in Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors

The Mendoza team is conducting a study in partnership with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where participants use a Fitbit device to track physical activity (step counts) and then try to meet personalized step goals. Study participants are also encouraged to engage in a private Facebook group of their study participants to share their physical activity experiences and motivate each other. The study’s objective is to learn about how using an activity tracking device and a Facebook group can be used to promote the physical activity of survivors of cancer.

Read more about adolescents at and young adults at

Reducing Television Viewing to Prevent Obesity in Hispanic Preschool Children

Television viewing and other screen time are major risk factors for childhood obesity. This study evaluates an intervention, called "Fit 5 Kids" (i.e., fit by age 5 years), a preschool curriculum designed to decrease TV viewing/screen time. The goals are to teach participants to decrease their TV watching; encourage alternative activities such as family meals and active playtime; and reduce excess weight gain. 


See the study in action in a recent King 5 Healthlink News Story.

StepByStep: Mobile Health and Social Media Physical Activity Intervention Among Adolescent and Young Adult Childhood Cancer Survivors

In collaboration with Yale, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Children’s Oncology Group, the Mendoza team is conducting a study building off the previous pilot studies listed above. However, instead of joining a Facebook group to share physical activity experiences and motivate each other, participants will follow a private Instagram page to accomplish the same thing. Participants will be part of the study for a year, and we hope to examine the effectiveness of using activity tracking devices, setting physical activity goals, and leveraging social media to promote the physical activity of cancer survivors.


Participate in Research

Help us answer questions about childhood health and illness, and help other children in the future. Learn more.