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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

Peanuts, Insulin & English: 3 New Studies on Latino Childhood Obesity

Here are three new studies on childhood obesity among Latinos: Study: Exercise can boost insulin sensitivity in Latino teens Latino teens who do aerobic exercise can improve their overall fitness and increase peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity, even if they don’t lose weight, according to a study by Baylor College of Medicine researchers in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, HealthDay reports. The study compared a 12-week exercise program’s effect on fitness, insulin sensitivity and weight among obese and lean Latino teens. Journal Article Study: High-nutrient peanut snacks help overweight Latino kids eat less Latino youths ate fewer times a day and were not as hungry when they were taught how to make healthier food choices ...

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California students help create healthier menu options

Students in Chula Vista, Calif., are participating in a program encouraging them to create nutritious meals to be served in area elementary schools, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Some of the menu changes included adding high-protein sausage to the previous breakfast menu and incorporating traditional Mexican fare, such as taquitos, to the lunch menu. Read more about the students' efforts ...

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Help Fight Childhood Obesity in Texas

Did you know that almost one-third of Texas children are overweight or obese? Overweight kids have a 70% chance of becoming overweight adults, and overweight adults run the risk of developing cancer. With your help, we can start reversing these rates and protect Texas children from a lifetime of health problems. Send a message today to the State Board of Education today urging members to keep strong physical education (PE) and health requirements in Texas schools. Not only do healthier youth become healthier adults, they also become better learners who perform better academically. To get involved in other federal and state advocacy campaigns, visit the Web site of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action ...

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South Has Some of the Highest Rates of Obesity, Diabetes

  Wide sections of the Southeast, Appalachia, and some tribal lands in the West and Northern Plains have the nation’s highest rates of obesity and diabetes, according to new CDC estimates. In many counties in those regions, rates of diagnosed diabetes exceed 10 percent and obesity exceeds 30 percent. The estimates, in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, are the first to provide county-level snapshots of obesity across the U.S. To view county-level estimates of obesity and diabetes visit Diabetes Data and Trends. Obesity is one of several factors linked to type 2 diabetes. Where people live, how much money they earn, their culture and their family history also play a role. An unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and socioeconomic factors ...

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Join the Effort to Reduce Latino Child Obesity

U.S. obesity rates have risen at an alarming rate among all children, but Latino youths have some of the highest overweight and obesity rates and are part of the nation's largest, youngest, and fastest-growing minority group. Yet there is little research on Latino children, making it difficult to address their specific issues. Enter Salud America! 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. Join Salud America! and receive news about the latest research, events, funding opportunities and ...

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News: Latino Childhood Obesity

Do Latino children perceive their weight accurately? How is a Latino sixth-grader (at left) spreading the word about health? What did a surgeon general and ex-NBA player say about Latino childhood obesity at our recent scientific summit? Find answers in the Salud America! Fall 2009 E-Newsletter. Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The network is directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, which developed SaludToday. To sign up to receive Salud America! E-newsletters, go ...

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Study: Upping Fiber Intake Could Trim Latino Youths’ Belly Fat

Eating a little more fiber could help trim waistlines of Latino youths, a new study shows, Reuters reports. Latinos ages 11 to 17 who increased their fiber intake over a two-year period had significant decreases in the amount of fat around their waists, while those whose fiber intake fell saw their bellies expand, according to the news report about the study by the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Researchers surveyed boys and girls on their diets at baseline and two years later. Belly fat increased 21 percent for the study participants who were eating less fiber. The youths who increased their fiber intake had a 4 percent reduction in belly fat. Study findings are published in the November issue of the American Journal of ...

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SaludToday at APHA: Latino Childhood Obesity

Here is a quick summary of the Latino-related program presented by Dr. Amelie Ramirez (pictured), a SaludToday and Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) investigator, at this week's APHA meeting in Philadelphia: Latino children, who belong to the largest, youngest and fastest-growing U.S. minority group, have one of the highest rates of obesity. Recent data shows that 38 percent of Mexican-American children are obese or overweight, compared with 30.7 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 34.9 percent of African-American children. Unfortunately, there is insufficient data available for other Latino subgroups. Dr. Ramirez talked about how, in response to this issue, she developed Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among ...

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New Version of Video: ‘Did You Know’ Truth about Latino Child Obesity?

Due to overwhelming response, we've added a faster-loading "Did You Know?" video to more quickly tell the story of the burden of obesity suffered by Latino children. We hope it helps motivate change even more quickly, too! Please comment on the video and let us know your thoughts. We're considering making a Spanish version, too. Here is the faster-loading version: And here is the higher-quality, but slower-loading ...

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