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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

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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Story: Latino Mom Found Help in Community

Emilia, a Latina mother of four children, struggled with her oldest son's weight issue. She found help at a free community mission in her Texas town called El Buen Samaritano. The lesson Emilia learned in trying to help her son was that community resources are there for the taking. Why not get a little assistance from experts who are just waiting to help? Joining El Buen Samaritano also overhauled the family's habits. They’ve gone from eating junk foods to healthy meals and now include exercise into their lifestyle. Read more of their story at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Be Well Book, which tells mothers' stories . Watch their story ...

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APHA Meeting Features SaludToday Researchers

The American Public Health Association's 137th Annual Meeting, which has a theme of "Water and Public Health," started this weekend and continues until Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009, in Philadelphia. SaludToday will be represented at the meeting by two of its researchers, Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, who will be presenting on Latino childhood obesity, and Sandra San Miguel, who will be presenting on Latino breast cancer. Dr. Ramirez directs the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and San Miguel is an IHPR research instructor.   For a blog about the meeting, click ...

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Webinars on Childhood Obesity

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity offers a webinar series, “Let’s End the Childhood Obesity Epidemic,” at noon ET each Thursday to focus on childhood obesity research, advocacy and other hot topics in the field. The topic for Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009, is "Getting Back in Balance: Influencing Policy and Environmental Factors to Increase Children's Physical Activity Levels and Consumption of Nutritious Foods." For a prior Webinar on Latino childhood obesity, watch the presentation or view the slides by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, head of SaludToday, Salud America! and the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San ...

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