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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

Help Us Reduce Latino Child Obesity

Join Salud America! and receive news about the latest research, events, funding opportunities and other activities in the fight against Latino childhood obesity. Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children aims to unite and increase the number of Latino researchers and advicates seeking environmental and policy solutions to address Latino childhood obesity. Salud America! is led by the team behind SaludToday. Watch our video here or ...

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San Antonio gets $15M to fight child obesity

A $15.6 million federal grant to San Antonio will serve as a “rallying point” in the city's ongoing effort to fight childhood obesity, Mayor Julián Castro said Friday, according to the San Antonio Express-News: The grant was funded through stimulus money and hailed by first lady Michelle Obama, who has taken on the battle against childhood obesity. That's an ongoing struggle in San Antonio, where a recent study showed 30 percent of children age 8 to 10 are obese, with Hispanic children suffering higher rates than others. One of the several ways the city will approach the goal of healthier children is to establish an “Active Living Council of San Antonio” targeting physical activity in the city. On the nutrition side, the city will work with schools, churches, restaurants, ...

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Video: S.A. Mayor to Roll Out Fitness Council

Watch a video of Julián Castro, a Latino and mayor of San Antonio, Texas, who is preparing to roll out a new fitness council for the city. Castro also talks about how he stays fit in office in the video, which is from ...

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New ‘Healthy Eating’ Funding Opportunity

Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), is seeking proposals for proposals for research to promote healthy eating among children to prevent childhood obesity, especially among lower-income and racial and ethnic populations at highest risk for obesity. Approximately $2.4 million will be awarded for Round 5 grants, rapid-response grants and New Connections grants through Healthy Eating Research. The broad topics and types of studies that apply to these three types of grants are described in the full "call for proposals" here or at the Healthy Eating Research Web site. Applications are due May 13, ...

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Latino, Black Kids at Higher Risk for Chronic Conditions

Latino and black children had a higher risk of having a chronic health condition, such as obesity or asthma, a new study found, HealthDay reports. The study, published in the February Journal of the American Medical Association, found that one of every two U.S. children now grapples at some time with a chronic health condition—one that lasts at least 12 months, the report states. The good news is that for many of those children, their chronic childhood illness won't persist. Just over 7 percent of those who reported a chronic condition at the beginning of the study still had the condition six years later. The bottom line, according to article commentary, is that U.S. children need better health habits. Prevention is key. Read the journal article or the news story about the ...

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Girl Scouts Help UT Health Science Center Researchers Fight Obesity

A group of Girl Scouts in San Antonio, Texas, spent part of their President’s Day working on a photography assignment that could be beneficial in pinpointing causes of sedentary lifestyles. The Avenida Guadalupe Girl Scout Center on San Antonio’s West Side went out to take pictures in order to identify the things in their neighborhood that either help them get involved in physical activities or discourages them from being physically active, according to a report in the San Antonio Business Journal. The girls’ perspective will be used by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio as part of a broader effort to get young girls, particularly young Hispanic girls, moving. The project is led by two researchers from the Institute for Health ...

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SaludToday’s Dr. Ramirez Talks About Latino Obesity on Latina Lista

A new study in the journal Pediatrics found that "household routines" can reduce childhood obesity -- eating regularly with the family at dinnertime, getting enough sleep and limiting TV time -- but cultural and other factors are important, too, SaludToday Director Dr. Amelie Ramirez told the Latina Lista blog. Latino kids are more obese than their white counterparts. Dr. Ramirez, who also heads the Salud America! research network to prevent obesity among Latino kids at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, told Latina Lista that obesity is a complex issue for Latinos: Latino children, who have some of the highest rates of obesity, tend to: consume too much total and saturated fat, cholesterol, added sugar and ...

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SaludToday Researcher On Paula Zahn’s TV Show On Women’s Health

Dr. Deborah Parra-Medina, a researcher at SaludToday and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, spoke about Latina child and youth obesity in a new TV special featuring former CNN anchor Paula Zahn. The four-part special, “Health Secrets: What Every Woman Should Know,” aired on WTTW-TV (Chicago), addresses women's health needs at all stages of life. Dr. Parra-Medina was featured Jan. 21, 2010, in a segment examining the complex issues facing young women. See the segment here by clicking on the "Overweight Teens" title under the main video. Read more about Dr. Parra-Medina ...

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Surgeon General Releases Plan to Reduce Childhood Obesity

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has released a report, the Surgeon General's Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation, which recommends ways to improve nutrition and physical activity, include school wellness policies, reduce junk food marketing to children and support walking and biking infrastructure. Yet the report hasn't gotten the same media hype as when First Lady Michelle Obama made it her personal goal to fight against childhood obesity (earlier this week, the first lady met with lawmakers on the issue). But the surgeon general's report has merit, says a Washington Post blogger: ...[the report] talks about personal responsibility, about communities working together, about grassroots efforts. It places the onus for weight loss squarely on the shoulders of individuals. ...

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