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In an effort to promote healthier eating habits among students, Merced County school officials are eliminating foods high in fat from school meal offerings and replacing them with fruits, vegetables and other nutritious alternatives. This is part three in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

Picture of Yesenia Amaro

Candy bars, Pop-Tarts and french fries were always on the menu in Ruth Sanchez's daily diet.

For years, the 17-year-old consistently made poor eating choices. "Fast food is what I would eat the most," she recalled.

Ruth, a former Merced Scholars Charter School student, said the two main reasons she turned to fast food were because it was affordable and easy to get.

"You are on the run, and you are going to get something from the $1 menu," she explained. "It's quick and it's the cheapest."

Not only did Ruth, who weighs 183 pounds, make the wrong choices when it came to eating, she also didn't live an active life.

That's no longer the case. She has made a dramatic change in her habits.

This is part two in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

Picture of Yesenia Amaro

Low prices, availability and aggressive targeted marketing are all factors that ensure children and teenagers are eating more fast food than ever before. The Network for a Healthy California is pushing for outdoor advertising that encourages healthier choices. This is part one in a four-part series.

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

Picture of William Heisel

A good friend of mine read my recent posts about Andrew Wakefield and the controversy over whether vaccines have any role in causing autism and asked me whether I was concerned for my safety.

Picture of Angilee Shah

Mental health professionals say that journalists need to get informed and be open to talking about how their work affects their mental health. This week at Career GPS, we get that conversation going.

Picture of William Heisel

Health writers too often take patient stories at face value and don't ask for medical records.

Picture of William Heisel

Anyone who has written about a topic as emotional as autism knows that patients and their families can be both invaluable and unreliable.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

As 2011 unfolds, I’d like to share some of my favorite health journalism – much but not all of it policy-related – from 2010. This is definitely not a best-of list, but rather journalism that can inspire and teach us.

Here are my first five picks, in no particular order of importance. I’ll share the next five next week.

Happy New Year!

Picture of William Heisel

For the past two years, New York Times reporter Walt Bogdanich has written more about medical radiation than most reporters will in their entire careers. He has examined it from every possible angle, focusing on both the power and the peril of various radiation treatments.

Picture of William Heisel

Last week, I started listing Antidote’s 10 favorite stories of the past year, in no particular order. Here is the rest of the list.

Dialysis: High Costs and Hidden Perils of a Treatment Guaranteed to All,” Robin Fields, ProPublica, November 2010

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