Faculty and Staff

Jeanette Garcia is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Sciences at UCF. She holds a MS in Psychology and a PhD in Exercise Physiology, with an emphasis on public health and behavioral medicine. Her area of research focused on the development and implementation of community-based health interventions to improve physical and psychosocial health in children and adolescents. Garcia has a particular interest in examining health behaviors in youth with social/emotional/behavioral disorders, primarily Autism Spectrum Disorder. The majority of her research takes place in school settings, using objective measures of behavior monitoring (e.g. accelerometers) to assess health behaviors such as physical activity, sedentary time, and sleep quality in typically developing youth and youth with social/emotional/behavioral disorders. Additionally, she aims to further examine how the promotion of health behaviors in school settings may influence classroom behavior and academic performance, particularly for youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Areas of Expertise
  • Special populations
  • Mixed-method designs
  • Behavioral Medicine
  • Activity assessment
Credentials
  • Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy, Exercise Physiology, University of Virginia
  • MS, Master of Science, Psychology
  • Postdoctoral Training, Harvard University
Affiliations
  • American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
Recent Publications

Ash T, Bowling A, Davison KK, Garcia JM. Physical activity interventions for children with social, emotional, and behavioral disabilities: A systematic review. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 2017; 38:431 – 445.

Healy S, Haegle JA, Grenier M, Garcia JM. Physical Activity, Screen-Time Behavior, and Obesity among 13-year olds in Ireland with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2017; 47: 49-57.

Garcia JM, Agaronov A, Sirard JR, Whaley D, Rice DJ, Weltman A. Psychosocial and Friend Influences on Sedentary Behavior and Screen Time: A Mixed Methods Analysis. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2017; 14: 213-221.

Garcia JM, Cox DJ, Rice DJ. Associations of Physiological and Psychological Health Outcomes with Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. 2017; 14: 213-221.

Garcia JM, Sirard JR, Larson R, Bruening M, Wall M, Neumark-Stzainer D. Social and Psychological Factors Associated With Adolescent Physical Activity. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. September 2016; 13(9): 957-963.

Current Funded Projects

Partnership to Increase Physical Activity and Overall Well-being in Typically Developing Girls and Girls with Varying Exceptionalities: Girls on the Run Program – August 2017 – present

Mixed Methods Evaluation of a Modified-Judo Training Program for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder – April 2017 – present

Research Interests
  • Health behaviors in youth with social/emotional/behavioral disorders
  • Community-based health interventions
  • Link between health behaviors (physical activity, nutrition, sleep, screen time) & academic performance
Research Grants
Health Sciences

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes in Low-Income Minority Women with Prior Gestational Diabetes

  • PI: Jaqueline Lamanna
  • Co-PI: Susan Quelly
  • Co-Is: Jeanette Garcia
  • Co-Is: Angeline Bushy
  • Amount: $10,000 | Timeframe: 11/01/2019 - 09/01/2020
    Funding Type: Foundation/Industry
    Funding Agency: Swift Family Grant Foundation
    Health Sciences

    Development of a Family-Centered Cooking Class for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • PI: Jeanette Garcia
  • Co-PI: Keith Brazendale
  • Co-PI: Eunkyung “Muriel” Lee
  • Co-PI: Shawn Lawrence
  • Amount: $25,000 | Timeframe: 07/01/2019 - 06/30/2020
    Funding Type: Extramural Research
    Funding Agency: Healthy Weight Research Network
  • New Research Focused on Healthy Eating Habits in Those with Autism Receives Grant from Sprouts Farmers Market
    Written By: Drexler B. James ’13 | October 28, 2020
    At left, Jennifer Wolf, UCF Associate Director of Development for CHPS, accepts a check from Andrew Linehan, manager for Sprouts Farmers Market. Jeanette Garcia, an assistant professor in the Department of Health...
  • New Program Teaches Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder How To Eat Healthy
    Written By: Megan Pabian | February 27, 2020
    Overweight and obesity are common conditions in the U.S. pediatric population, but children with autism spectrum disorder have a 41 percent greater chance of having these health conditions than their...
  • UCF Study: Judo May Help Health, Social Interaction of Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Written By: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala | January 9, 2020
    Judo may be just the right sport to increase the physical activity level among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and holds promise for reducing sedentary behavior, which is linked...
  • UCF Partners with The Paragon School to Develop Health Promotion Interventions for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Written By: CAMILLE DOLAN ‘98 | July 31, 2019
    When Jeanette Garcia, an assistant professor in the School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy was in grade school and high school in Pittsburgh, she noticed that students were split into...
  • In New Study, Children With Autism Learn the Gentle Way of Judo
    Written By: Camille Dolan | July 18, 2018
    For one hour each week, children in a new UCF research study shed their label of autism, don white uniforms called judogis and become judokas — practitioners of the martial...
  • Assistant Professor Named Senior Associate Editor of The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research
    Written By: UCF Communications Staff | January 29, 2018
    Sport and exercise science assistant professor David Fukuda’s passion for judo and wrestling shaped his career. He’s a former national and international judo competitor and judo black belt who enjoys coaching and...
  • Subscribe to the CHPS newsletter

    Be the first to hear about new things happening in the college!

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.