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As part of the Center for Health Journalism Fellowship, journalists work with a senior fellow to develop a special project. Recent projects have examined health disparities by ZIP code in the San Francisco Bay Area, anxiety disorders and depression in the Hispanic immigrant community in Washington state, and the importance of foreign-born doctors to health care in rural communities.

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

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

Despite being for-profit institutions, Sierra Vista and Twin Cities Community Hospital lead the way in providing care to those less fortunate in the region.

A San Luis Obispo doctor's prescription for weight loss has proven effective, but are weight loss drugs safe? Experts caution against the potential risks and downsides.

After nearly a decade of deficit, French Hospital Medical Center is finally on the financial mend. Back on its feet, the center is making ambitious expansion plans for its future.

Records show that the financial troubles that forced the closure of Mee Memorial Hospital began as early as a year prior. Despite ambitions to deliver adequate patient care, the hospital's money problems continued to worsen.

The declining quality of residential care facilities in San Luis Obispo county has led some local families to question whether they can be trusted with the care of their loved ones.

You might think that spending ten years on the street, two of them at 6th and Mission, might mean that a person is a hopeless case. These four amazing people illustrate homeless success.

She’d slept one night in the Mission District under a bush, and woke in the dark when someone grabbed her ankle. Four men held her down and raped her. Now, almost three months later, she spoke in a flat, detached voice like this was somehow normal, just another blank to be filled in like her cough, or whether she had an allergy, her eyes drifting all around the room.

Awareness of the risks to children from not having a stable home also means that parents who are already desperately trying to juggle the demands of managing a life without an address, or a stable food supply, or often a phone, are also frantically trying to do what’s best for their kids, often under mind-blowingly stressful circumstances.

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