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Amanda Merck

Merck completed her MPH with a concentration in Physical Activity and Health. She curates content for Salud America! (@SaludAmerica), a Latino childhood obesity prevention project based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio. She focuses on the latest research, resources, and stories related to policy, systems, and environmental changes to enhance equitable access to safe places for kids and families to walk, bike, and play.

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Articles by Amanda Merck

The Latino Perspective on World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14

The Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is joining others around the nation to improve Latino health as we recognize World Diabetes Day and on Nov. 14. Diabetes and obesity are some of top health issues facing Latinos in South Texas. The IHPR's South Texas Health Status Review identified obesity and diabetes disparities in the region, our Salud America! network targets Latino childhood obesity, and our SaludToday blog continues to highlight the latest research in these areas. Find out more about our efforts to improve Latino health here. Find resources on diabetes in English or ...

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More from Report: Black, Latino Kids See More Fast-Food Ads

The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity's new report, Fast Food FACTS: Evaluating Fast Food Nutrition and Marketing to Youth, includes more information about fast-food ads seen by Latino and black youths. As reported by the Multi-American blog: There is considerable evidence that exposure to marketing for fast food is even higher among African American and Hispanic youth. African American youth view almost 50% more TV advertisements for fast food than do white children and adolescents. Although differences in advertising exposure can be attributed in large part to the greater amount of time that African American and Hispanic youth spend watching television, fast food restaurants appear to disproportionately target African Americans and Hispanics with their marketing efforts. ...

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Fast Food Restaurants Dish Up Unhealthy Marketing to Youth

Children as young as age 2 are seeing more fast food ads than ever, and restaurants rarely offer healthy kids’ meal choices, according to a new study by Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The new evaluation, the most comprehensive study of fast food nutrition and marketing ever conducted, studied marketing efforts of 12 of the nation’s largest fast food chains, and examined the calories, fat, sugar and sodium in more than 3,000 kids’ meal combinations and menu items. The study is being presented today at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting. Some alarming findings include: Out of 3,039 possible kids’ meal combinations, only 12 meet the researchers’ nutrition criteria for preschoolers. Only 15 meet nutrition criteria for older ...

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Salud America! To Be a Top Feature at APHA Meeting

Salud America!, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that is dedicated to reducing childhood obesity among Latinos, will be featured prominently at the upcoming American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting from Nov. 6-10, 2010, in Denver. If you're at the APHA Meeting, please attend the Salud America! session at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2010. Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America!, will lead the session, which will introduce the program and the challenges and potential solutions to Latino childhood obesity. Then you'll hear from a trio of Salud America! pilot researchers: Drs. Shari Barkin, Emma Sanchez and Cristina Barroso. Dr. Larry Green, Salud America! National Advisory Committee member, will serve as session respondent. Since its ...

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5 Tips Latinos Can Do to Fight Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health problems in the nation, especially among Latinos. About 20% of Latino children between ages 12-19 are obese, compared to 18% of all American children. "You can say it's the main problem facing our community," said Dr. Felipe Lobelo, who specializes in nutrition, physical activity, and obesity at the CDC. "Unfortunately, we (Hispanics) are among the groups with the highest rates of obesity in both adults and children, and we have to do something about it." Dr. Lobelo offered these tips to help parents get started on preventing obesity: 1) Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating fruits and vegetables is essential to fighting childhood obesity. Parents and guardians can add fruits to their kids' diet by chopping them up and ...

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Get Moving with “Muévete Hoy!” Exercise Video

The new "Muévete Hoy!" exercise video infuses Latin dance moves and a catchy beat to motivate Latinos of all ages to get more physically active. We created the English and Spanish exercise video to get participants up and moving at a recent conference. Now we're asking you to stand up, get ready and "Muévete Hoy!" E-mail us to request a DVD copy. Watch below or on YouTube in English: Watch below or on YouTube in Spanish: The video was produced by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday. Learn more about us at ...

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IHPR’s Ramirez Weighs in on Latino Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, recently discussed challenges and solutions to Latino childhood obesity as a guest on “Conversations on Health Care,” a weekly radio show airing in Connecticut, Minnesota and Michigan made possible by the Connecticut-based Community Health Center, Inc. The show features experts in health care innovation and reform. Dr. Ramirez talks about the Latino childhood obesity epidemic and her Salud America! program’s efforts to reduce the epidemic. Dr. Ramirez has spent 30 years directing many research programs focused on human and organizational communication to reduce chronic disease and cancer health disparities affecting Latinos. Listen to the ...

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IHPR’s Esparza Expands Role as Community Advocate for Minority Child Health

Laura Esparza, a researcher at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, already works with community groups to identify innovative ways to help Latina girls in San Antonio get physically active. Now she's taking on an expanded role as a community advocate for minority child health. Esparza has joined the Shared Use Coalition for the city’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative, which aims to plan and implement strategies to increase opportunities for physical activity and access to healthy food in San Antonio’s Westside community. The coalition is trying to develop shared use agreements that allow schools, churches and city facilities to be used after hours for exercise and play. Esparza also is a member of ...

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Childhood Obesity May Be Underreported

Parents, especially minorities, tend to underreport their children's weight, meaning estimates of obesity and body mass index (BMI) based on parent-supplied data may miss one in five obese children, according to research presented at the recent 57th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. Researchers compared the measured height and weight of 1,430 children at a clinic with the values their parents reported. Almost half of the parents underestimated their child’s weight. Hispanic/Latino and black parents made larger errors than white ...

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