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

Areas of Specialty
  • 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
  • Judo Program Receives Over $75,000 from Florida Fraternal Order of the Eagles
    Written By: Megan Pabian | October 15, 2021
    The Florida Fraternal Order of the Eagles (FOE) has donated more than $75,000 to the UCF Judo Program to help expand the program and continue its work to improve students’...
  • Genius Foundation Awards $300,000 To UCF Interdisciplinary Health Research
    Written By: WENDY SARUBBI | October 7, 2021
    Eight interdisciplinary faculty research projects — on health topics including pain management, improving provider-patient communication, and intimate partner violence — have received about $300,000 in grant funding through a new...
  • School of Social Work’s CBHRT: Fueling Scientific Collaboration and Expanding Professional Expertise
    Written By: UCF School of Social Work | October 7, 2021
    The Center for Behavioral Health Research and Training (CBHRT) was established in 2017 and is the first of its kind in the School of Social Work. The CBHRT serves a unique purpose to link practitioners...
  • UCF’s Brightest Shine During Luminary Awards
    Written By: ZENAIDA GONZALEZ KOTALA & ALLISON HURTADO | October 6, 2021
    15 faculty members were honored for being academic leaders, bettering lives and shining a light in the world. The UCF community celebrated the accomplishments of 15 exceptional faculty members at...
  • Researchers in the College of Health Professions and Sciences Use the Pandemic as an Opportunity to Expand Collaborations and Impact
    Written By: Camille Dolan '98 | May 21, 2021
    A little more than a year ago, faculty and students in the College of Health Professions and Sciences who were working on research projects had to pivot when COVID-19 derailed their plans. CHPS researchers regrouped and forged ahead with their projects by finding new ways to use the...
  • Health Sciences Students Compete in Undergraduate Research Symposium
    Written By: Camille Dolan '98 | May 7, 2021
    Ten groups of  health science students across five sections in Applied Health Research Methodology recently gathered online to present their final project – a research proposal poster. As the culmination...
  • Health Sciences Students Showcase Research Proposals at Annual Symposium
    Written By: Megan Pabian | December 16, 2020
    As the semester draws to an end, Health Sciences students from five sections of the Applied Health Research Methodology class participated in an online symposium of nearly 100 attendees to...
  • 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...
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