Suzanna Martinez, PhD, MS, is a researcher in the UC-wide Nutrition Policy Institute, in the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and at UC San Diego, Division of Academic Pediatrics, Development and Community Health at the Center for Community Health. She has worked with the Division since 2009, when she was a Postdoctoral Scholar under the mentorship of Dr. Sheila Gahagan. Dr. Martinez collaborates on The Santiago Longitudinal Study examining determinants of obesity and cardiometabolic risk in a cohort of Chilean adults studied since infancy. In this cohort, she has examined the effect of neighborhood perceptions on cardiometabolic risk and metabolic pathways involved in increased risk for the metabolic syndrome during adolescence.

Dr. Martinez has a MS degree in Nutrition Education From Columbia University, Teachers College, and a PhD from the UCSD/ San Diego State University Joint Doctoral Program in Public Health (Health Behavior). Her research interests include understanding the behavioral, social and environmental mechanisms that relate to sleep, nutrition, and physical activity and how they are interrelated in determining pediatric obesity, particularly Latino children.


Tschann, J.M., Martinez, S.M., Greenspan, L., Deardorff, J., Penilla, C., Flores, E., Gregorich, G. Pasch, L., Butte, N.F. (accepted). An examination of mother’s and father’s influences on child eating behaviors in Mexican American children: A cross-lagged panel model. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
Bender, M., Martinez, S.M., Arayasirikul, S., Kennedy, C. (in press). Designing a culturally appropriate visually enhanced mobile health app promoting physical activity for Latinos: A qualitative study. Journal of Transcultural Nursing.
Child, S.T., McKenzie, T.L., Arredondo, E.M., Elder, J.P., Martinez, S.M., Ayala, G.X. (in press). Park features matter in Latino communities: Associations between park facilities, user demographics, and physical activity levels. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration.
Martinez, S.M., Tschann, J.M., Greenspan, L., Deardorff, J., Penilla, C. Butte, N.F., Flores, E., Gregorich, G. Pasch, L. (2014). Is it time for bed? Short sleep duration increases risk for obesity in Latino youth. Sleep Medicine.
Butte, N.F., Gregorich, S.E., Tschann, J.M., Penilla, C., Pasch, L.A., de Groat, C.L., Flores, E. Deardorff, J., Greenspan, L.C., Martinez, S.M. (2014). Longitudinal effects of parental, child and neighborhood factors on moderate-vigorous physical activity and sedentary time in Latino children. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
Martinez, S.M., Blanco, E., Delva, J., Burrows, R., Reyes, M., Lozoff, B., Gahagan, S. (2014). Perception of neighborhood crime and drugs increases cardiometabolic risk in Chilean adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54(6):718-23
Martinez, S.M., Blanco, E., Rhee, K., Boutelle, K. (2014). Latina mothers’ attitudes and behaviors around feeding their children: The impact of the cultural maternal role. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(2):230-7.
Martinez, S.M., Greenspan, L., De Groat, C., Penilla, C., Butte, N.F., Gregorich, G., Flores, E., Pasch, L., Tschann, J.M. (2014). Is mother-reported sleep enough to examine the sleep-obesity relationship in children? Journal of Sleep Research.
Reyes, M., Hoyos, V., Martinez, S.M., Lozoff, B., Castillo, M., Burrows, R., Blanco, E., Gahagan, S. (2014). Satiety responsiveness and eating behavior among Chilean adolescents and the role of breastfeeding. International Journal of Obesity, 38(4):552-7.
Martinez, S.M., Arredondo, E.M., Roesch, S. (2013). Physical activity promotion among churchgoing Latinas in San Diego County: Do social perceptions matter? Journal of Health Psychology.
Rose, O., Blanco, E., Martinez, S.M., Kang Sim, D. E., Castillo, M., Lozoff, B., Vaucher, Y., Gahagan, S. (2013). Developmental scores at 1 year with increasing gestational age, 37-41 weeks. Pediatrics, 131(5):e1475-81.
Arredondo, E.M., Lemus, H., Elder, J.P., Molina, M., Martinez, S.M., Sumek, C., & Ayala, G.X. (2013). Sedentary behavior and depression among Latinos living in the US: Who’s at risk? Mental Health and Physical Activity.
Martinez, S.M., Ayala, G.X. Patrick, K., Arredondo, E.M., Roesch, S., Elder, J.P. (2012). Associated pathways between neighborhood environment, community resource factors and leisure-time physical activity among Mexican-American adults in San Diego, CA. American Journal of Health Promotion, 26(5):281-288.
Kang Sim, D.E., Cappiello, M., Castillo, M., Lozoff, B., Martinez, S.M., Blanco, E., Gahagan, S. (2012). Postnatal Growth Patterns in a Chilean Cohort: The Role of SES and Family Environment. International Journal of Pediatrics, vol. 2012, Article ID 354060, 8 pages, 2012.
Blanco, E., Reyes, M., Burrows, R.A., Martinez, S.M., Gahagan, S. (2011). Low bone mineral density in a cohort of normal, overweight and obese Chilean adolescents. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 20(23-24):3577–3579.
Martinez, S.M., Arredondo, E.M., Roesch, S., Patrick, K., Ayala, G.X., Elder, J.P. (2011). Walking for transportation among Latino adults in San Diego County: Who meets physical activity guidelines? Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 8(7):898-906.
Martinez, S.M., Arredondo, E.M., Perez, G., Baquero, B. (2009). Individual, social and environmental barriers to and facilitators of physical activity among Latinas living in San Diego County: Focus group results. Family and Community Health (Border Health Issues), 32(1):22-33.
Martinez, S.M., Ainsworth, B., Elder J.P. (2008). A review of physical activity measures used among US Latinos: guidelines for developing culturally appropriate measures. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 36(2):195-207.
Martinez, S.M., Arredondo, E.M., Finch, B., Ayala, G.X., Elder, J.P. (2008). Active transportation and acculturation among Latino Children in San Diego, California. Preventive Medicine, 47(3):313-318.​
20. Martinez, S.M., Arredondo, E., Ayala, G.X., and Elder, J. (2008). Culturally appropriate research and interventions. In A.L. Smith & S.J.H. Biddle (Eds.), Youth Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior: Challenges and Solutions (pp.453-477). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.


2014 Academic Pediatric Association Research in Academic Pediatrics Initiative on Diversity

2013 Academic Pediatric Association Young Investigator Award

2007 Center for Disease Control & Prevention/ Prevention Research Centers/Associated Schools of Public Health Minority Fellowship

2007 Nation Institute of Health (National Cancer Institute) Minority Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research


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