UCANR Strategic Initiatives
University of California
UCANR Strategic Initiatives

Healthy Families and Communities Research

Research Topics

The Healthy Families and Communities Strategic Initiative has targeted three key areas of inquiry for preferred research and extension projects:

  • Childhood obesity prevention
  • Youth science literacy
  • Positive youth development

Current Research Projects

Mitigating Zoonotic and Animal Disease Risks in 4-H Animal Science Projects through Coordinated Education and Research Mitigating Zoonotic and Animal Disease Risks in 4-H Animal Science Projects through Coordinated Education and Research
This project will integrate core objectives of three strategic initiatives. It addresses the need for a safe food supply through targeted research on pathogenic zoonotic bacteria and parasites designed to reduce the risk of disease transmission from animals to 4-H youth who raise food animals and th...
Integrating Urban Agriculture with Youth Development through Community Tours Integrating Urban Agriculture with Youth Development through Community Tours
Urban agriculture has the potential to integrate topics across several strategic initiatives and disciplines. This project will use the recently completed science-based results from the 2012 Urban Agriculture project (Surls) and extend that information through four hands-on experiential urban ag to...
MyPlate: Advancing ANR Leadership and Excellence in Nutrition Education MyPlate: Advancing ANR Leadership and Excellence in Nutrition Education
UC ANR has led the way nationally in developing and testing the “plate” approach to nutrition education. We discovered that clients need to see the plate "in action" with photos showing real food combinations in order to apply the MyPlate message to real-world food choices. This project will: 1) Cre...
Creating a Movement to Reduce Obesity: Transforming Communities Creating a Movement to Reduce Obesity: Transforming Communities
This 4-year study responds to the rise in childhood obesity by implementing and evaluating a community-based program targeting children aged 9-12. County Cooperative Extension Offices will be key in mobilizing local partners to deliver consistent messages to children. The study will emphasize two m...
A Multi-Component, School-Based Approach to Supporting Regional Agriculture, Promoting Healthy Behaviors, and Reducing Childhood Obesity A Multi-Component, School-Based Approach to Supporting Regional Agriculture, Promoting Healthy Behaviors, and Reducing Childhood Obesity
Although statewide policies limiting access to certain foods on school campuses are in place, studies have not shown sustainable improvements in student behaviors associated with reduced risk of obesity. Research suggests that simply offering healthy options is not enough to motivate children; in f...

Contact Information

For more information about current research projects, please contact the primary researcher listed below. 

Mitigating Zoonotic and Animal Disease Risks
Martin Smith
CE Specialist, Youth Scientific Literacy

Urban Agriculture and Youth Development
Gail Feenstra
Deputy Director, Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program

MyPlate
Cathi Lamp
Nutrition, Family, and Consumer Sciences Advisor

Transforming Communities
Patricia Crawford
Extension Nutrition Specialist

Reducing Childhood Obesity
Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr
CE Nutrition Science Specialist

Webmaster Email: mozbell@ucanr.edu