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Annual Report - 2007-2008 - Outreach

Annual Report - Winter 2009

Momentum Among Diverse Populations

Lois Ramondetta, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology, operates a clinic and performs surgery each week at Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital in Houston, where MD Anderson partners with this component of the Harris County Hospital District to provide specialized oncology care to the citizens of Texas. Pictured with her is LaToysha Fernandez, a uterine cancer patient.

Through the Department of Health Disparities in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, MD Anderson researchers are involved in research and education initiatives that address disparities in health care, especially among ethnic and underserved populations. Their goal is to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, disparities in cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality, and cancer-related behaviors.

Mexican-Americans in the United States at Greater Risk for Obesity

To better understand the prevalence and growing number of overweight Mexican-Americans, researchers in MD Anderson’s Department of Epidemiology set out to discover if birthplace and years of residence in the United States play a factor. The results indicated that Mexican-born men and women have a lower risk of obesity than those born in the United States. However, the longer they stay in the United States, the more they shift towards habits that increase their risk of becoming obese and their chances of getting cancer. “The results are disconcerting, but not necessarily surprising,” says Michele Forman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Epidemiology. “We need to find out when the shift actually takes place once they arrive in the United States, and how to intervene and persuade them not to shift toward the behaviors that cause obesity.”

How Environmental Influences Impact Physical Activity Levels

Where you live, work and play may impact your overall health. In a combined-data study, researchers determined that social support and available neighborhood facilities have important impacts on physical activity.“Understanding the process of behavior change is key,” said Lorna Haughton McNeill, Ph.D., assistant professor of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson. “We found that peoples’ social and physical environments can affect their desire to be physically active. If there are facilities available, such as parks and other recreational areas, people are more likely to exercise. Additionally, we found motivation through social support particularly influential.”


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