Children's Health and Education

children on a banner

Our researchers find effective ways to empower school children with real skills to be their healthiest right now. The science behind genetic and phenotypic diversity has proven that people have highly variable health and health needs. FFHI researchers are invested health education approaches that are personalized and phenotype-driven. With kids K-12, we test and develop innovative and technology-driven health education tools and curricula that not only help to position them as skilled thinkers, but also train them in personal health management from a young age.

Sara Schaefer

"We know how essential it is to set our youngest children on a path toward a lifetime of healthy eating and physical activity." - Michelle Obama

Current Research 


Publication, Presentations, and Abstracts

  • Schaefer SE, Ching CC, Breen HL, German JB. Wearing, thinking & moving: assessment of health tracking in diverse, urban youth. Amer J Health Educ. In Press 2015.
  • Schaefer SE, Gomez-Camacho R, Sadeghi B, Kaiser L, German JB, de la Torre A. Assessing child obesity and physical activity in a hard to reach population in California’s Central Valley. Prev Chronic Dis In Press 2015
  • Schaefer SE, Van Loan M, German JB. Feasibility study of wearable activity monitors in pre-adolescent school age children. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:130262
  • Ching CC & Schaefer S. Identities in motion, identities at rest: Addressing the mind-body split in gaming research and design. To appear in V Lee (ed), Learning technologies and the body: Integration and implementation. New York, NY: Routledge. Publication 2014
  • De la Torre A, Sadeghi B, Green R, Kaiser LL, Flores YG, Jackson CF, Shaikh U, Whent LS, Schaefer SE. Niños Sanos, Familia Sana: Mexican immigrant study protocol for a multifaceted CBPR intervention to combat childhood obesity in two rural California towns. BMC Public Health 2013;13:1033
  • Schaefer SE, Erber E, Trzaskos JP, Roache C, Osborne G, Sharma S. Sources of food affect dietary adequacy of Inuit women of childbearing age in Arctic Canada. J Health Popul Nutr 2011;29(5):454-64
  • Fleige LE, Moore WR, Garlick PJ, Murphy SP, Lynch SR, Turner EH, Dunn ML, van Lengerich B, Orthoefer FT, Schaefer SE. Recommendations for product optimization of U.S. Public Law 480 fortified blended foods. Nutr Rev 2010; 68(5):290-315
  • Schaefer SE, Van Loan MD, Salazar M, Bruhn CE, Saviano D, Boushey C. Influence of race, acculturation and socioeconomic status on tendency toward overweight in Asian-American and Mexican-American early adolescent females. J Immigrant Minority Health 2009; 11:188-97. 
  • O’Sullivan A, German JB, Smilowitz JT, Zivkovic AM, Martin W, Dixon BE, Schaefer SE. Toolkit for the 21st Century: Maximizing Personal Health and Nutrition. J Food Ag Chem Forthcoming 2015.
  • Schaefer SE, Whent LS, de la Torre A. Use of worn accelerometers to measure physical activity in Mexican-heritage children in California’s Central Valley. J Nutr Educ Behav 2013;45(4):S89-S89.
  • Schaefer SE, Van Loan M, Allen L, JB German JB. Feasibility of accelerometers for measuring children's daily physical activity. FASEB 2012;26.
  • Schaefer SE, Salazar ML, Bruhn CM, Van Loan MD. Relationship between acculturation and body fat in Asian and Hispanic adolescent girls. FASEB 2004 18(5):A902-A902
  • Moher T, Ching CC, Schaefer S, Lee VR, Enyedy N, Danish J, Guerra P, et al. Becoming reflective: designing for reflection on physical performances. ICLS 2014 Proceedings, 1273
  • Sadeghi B, Martinez LC, Gomez-Camacho R, Schaefer SE. A significant dissociation between parental perception and actual obesity status in Mexican-American children in Central Valley California: Impact and Implications. J Nutr Educ Behav 2014;46(4), S200-S200.
  • Schaefer SE, Ching CCHealth for Fun. Games Learning and Society 2015, Madison, WI
  • Schaefer SE, Ching CC, German JB. Wearing, thinking & moving: Assessment of health tracking in diverse, urban youth. Experimental Biology 2015, Boston MA
  • Schaefer SE, Biltekoff C. Digging into “Good Food:”Theory and Methods for Understanding Food Choice. ASFS/AFHVS 2014 Conference "Collaboration and Innovation Across the Food System." Burlingon, VT, June 2014
  • Schaefer SE, Sadeghi B, Kaiser LL, de la Torre A. Impact of Niños Sanos, Familia Sana on the Physical Activity of Mexican-American Children in California’s Central Valley. Society of Nutrition Education & Behavior, Milwaukee, WI, June 2014
  • Schaefer SE, Ching CC. Health in Your Pocket: Handheld, Wearable and Everyday Technologies for Health Research and Education. Keynote Presentation - UC CalFresh-EFNEP Statewide Conference, Davis, CA, January 2014
  • Schaefer SE, Whent LS, de la Torre A. Use of worn accelerometers to measure physical activity in Mexican-heritage children in California’s Central Valley. Society of Nutrition Education & Behavior, Portland, OR, August 2013.
  • Schaefer SE. Feasibility of Accelerometers for Measuring Children’s Daily Physical Activity. Session: Innovative Tools for Assessment of Diet, Physical Activity and Related Behaviors. Experimental Biology 2012, San Diego, CA
  • Schaefer SE, Alkon A. Race, Class and the Food System, University of the Pacific, Stockton CA, April 2012
  • Schaefer SE. Health Education: It’s Getting Personal. Childhood Obesity Conference, San Diego, CA 2012.
  • Schaefer SE. Personalizing Health Education: A California Solution for Children’s Health. UC CalFresh-EFNEP Statewide Conference, Burlinghame, CA, December 2010
  • Schaefer SE, Van Loan M. Acculturation and Diet in Asian and Hispanic Adolescent Females” Experimental Biology, Washington DC, May 2004