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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

Latinos, Make Your Voice Heard on How to Create Healthier Schools, Communities

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has launched a special online forum to start an open dialogue about the best ways to implement their six policy priorities for reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015, including creating healthier schools and communities. The discussion forum consists of six topic threads—one for each policy priority: Built environmen​t High-quali​ty, affordable foods in communitie​s Pricing Strategies Food and beverages in schools Physical activity in school Marketing to children Latinos, this is a perfect opportunity to weigh in with your throughts on efforts to solve childhood obesity. Please don't hesitate to visit the RWJF site and enter your comments—RWJF staff members are acting as hosts and will post messages ...

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En Español: Latino Childhood Obesity Video

Our dramatic video that uses shocking statistics and actual child voices to document the complex epidemic of Latino childhood obesity is now in Spanish. The award-winning video, titled “¿Sabía Usted?” and developed by the Salud America! program of the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, was originally developed in English. To request a DVD copy in English or Spanish, e-mail us as saludamerica@uthscsa.edu. Watch the Spanish-language video here or below: The video was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino ...

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Most Texas School Kids Failing in Recess

More than two-thirds of Texas schoolchildren flunked the state's physical fitness test this year, a troubling trend that doctors worry could worsen with the Legislature loosening the requirements for high school gym class, the Houston Chronicle reports. The bright spot among the newly released state data involves elementary and middle school students, who met the healthy benchmarks at slightly higher rates than they did two years ago when Texas became the first state to mandate annual fitness testing. Third-grade girls continued to perform the best this year, with 37 percent passing all six tests, which involve running, strength and flexibility exercises and a body fat measure. High school seniors did the worst, with about 8 percent of each gender meeting the ...

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Grant Opportunities: Childhood Obesity Research

Check out this roundup of current funding opportunities in childhood obesity research: Ladder to Leadership Ladder to Leadership: Developing the Next Generation of Community Health Leaders seeks to help local, early- to mid-career professionals serving vulnerable populations develop leadership skills. The current opening for New Jersey’s Greater Newark Area runs until July 2, 2010. Carol M. White Physical Education Program The Carol M. White Physical Education Program provides grants to LEAs and community-based organizations to initiate, expand or enhance P.E. programs, including after-school programs, for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Applications are due July 19, 2010. Healthy Eating Research Grants Healthy Eating Research, an RWJF national program, is ...

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‘F as in Fat’: Obesity Rises in 28 States; Rates Higher in Latinos, Blacks

The U.S. obesity epidemic continues to worsen as adult obesity rates climbed in 28 states in the past year—now exceeding 25 percent in more than two-thirds of the states—with rates higher among blacks and Latinos than whites in 40 states, according to the new F as in Fat 2010 report. Among the report's findings are that Latino adult obesity rates were above 35 percent in two states (North Dakota and Tennessee) and at 30 percent and above in 19 states. Obesity rates in Texas were the 13th-highest in the nation. The report, by Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), goes on to discuss how the nation’s response has yet to fully match the magnitude of the problem. At the same time, it highlights public recognition of the issue and ...

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Amelie Ramirez Talks on Challenges, Solutions to Latino Child Obesity

Go here to listen to Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, leader of SaludToday, in a radio interview about the challenges of Latino childhood obesity and her Salud America! program’s efforts to reduce the epidemic. Dr. Ramirez was a guest on “Conversations on Health Care,” a weekly radio show airing in Connecticut, Minnesota and Michigan featuring experts in health care innovation and reform. The show is made possible by the Connecticut-based Community Health Center, Inc. Dr. Ramirez has spent 30 years directing many state-, federal- and privately-funded research programs focused on human and organizational communication to reduce chronic disease and cancer health disparities affecting Latinos. Under her leadership, the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT ...

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Stirring “¿Sabía Usted?” Latino Childhood Obesity Video Wins Awards

A dramatic video that uses shocking statistics and actual child voices to document the multi-faceted epidemic of Latino childhood obesity is earning prestigious film awards and recognition for the Institute for Health Promotion (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The video, titled “Did You Know?/¿Sabía Usted?” and developed by the IHPR’s Salud America! program, has won awards from the 2010 New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards, 2010 Aegis Video & Film Production Awards and the 31st Annual Telly Awards: Gold World Medal, “Human Concerns,” New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards, May 3 Winner, “Training/Education,” Aegis Video & Film Production Awards, May 1 Bronze, ...

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Latino Child Obesity Rates Continue to Rise, Especially in Boys

Latino childhood obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S., especially among Latino boys. About 26.8% of Mexican American boys were obese in 2007-08, compared to 19.8% of black boys and 16.7% of white boys, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obesity among Mexican American boys was only 14.1% in 1988-1994. This increasing trend is troubling because obesity, especially when developed at a young age and carried into adulthood, is associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension and some types of cancer. Watch our dramatic video to find out more about Latino child obesity here or below. Please join our national network, Salud America!, as we unite Latino researchers, advocates and the public in seeking ...

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Report: Redes Meeting Tackles Key Latino Cancer Issues

Perspectives on key Latino cancer issues from the brightest minds in the field are featured in a new report from the 10th Annual Redes En Acción National Steering Committee Meeting. The meeting, held recently in San Antonio, celebrated the 10th year of Redes, a national Latino cancer research network funded by the National Cancer Institute and headquartered at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday. Redes has tested novel interventions to improve access to care and screening. We've trained the next generation of Latino cancer researchers. We've raised awareness of Latino cancer challenges and solutions. Read the visually stunning new report highlights these achievements and highlights new work in ...

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