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Community-based Lifestyle Interventions


Our goal is to pursue interventions that, first and foremost, utilize the local autistic community’s input to guide the development and implementation of interventions aimed at improving the lifestyle of autistic individuals and their families. By prioritizing creative educational delivery methods, we aim to promote whole-person growth and wellness.


Research Agenda

Autistic individuals are at disproportionate risk for unhealthy weight across the lifespan. They represent just one of many communities with unique considerations when it comes to tailoring interventions designed to improve nutrition and physical activity. Additionally, restrictive eating behaviors, sensory issues, specialized diets, social and behavioral impairments, motor impairments, and family factors are key considerations in addressing barriers to optimal nutrition and physical activity in autistic individuals. Research priorities include developing interventions that promote social connectedness, building self-advocacy capacities, and engaging families and communities.

Community-based Lifestyle Interventions Node Leader

Priyanka Fernandes, MBBS, MPH

Program Director of the UCLA Preventive Medicine Program

Community-based Lifestyle Interventions Node Leader

Candace Gragnani, MD, MPH

Associate Physician Diplomate in the Child Health Policy Program of the Department of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine; Faculty in the UCLA Preventive Medicine Program