childhood obesity

Texas Ag Commissioner: Bring Back Sodas and Deep Fat Fryers to School

by Bettina Elias Siegel on January 13, 2015

Yesterday I told you that Texas’s newly elected Agriculture Commissioner chose, as his first act in office, to grant “amnesty” to classroom birthday cupcakes in our state. As I explained in yesterday’s post, not only was this a head-scratcher given the many more pressing problems facing Texas’s farmers (starting with a serious water shortage and including a rampant feral […]


“Cupcake Amnesty:” Childhood Obesity and the Political Divide

by Bettina Elias Siegel on January 12, 2015

This morning in Austin, our state’s newly elected Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller is holding a press conference to announce his first official act in office.  But Miller won’t use the occasion to address Texas’s troubling water shortage, which he had promised to make his “top priority” if elected, nor will he discuss any other issue of pressing concern to the state’s farmers or […]


Girl Scouts Under Fire for Lending Name to Sugary Drinks

by Bettina Elias Siegel on September 26, 2014

In recent years, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) has come under fire for a variety of issues related to the organization’s annual cookie sales.  Among other things, parents, bloggers and food advocates have questioned the cookies’ inclusion of trans fats and eco-unfriendly palm oil, as well as the organization’s lame attempt last year to pass […]


Military Leaders Urge Staying the Course on Healthier School Food

by Bettina Elias Siegel on September 23, 2014

In 2008, a group of retired four-star generals, admirals and other senior military leaders banded together out of a growing concern that a significant segment of America’s youth are unfit to serve in the armed forces, presenting a serious long-term threat to our national security.  Now with over 450 members, Mission Readiness has since proven to be […]


Imagine a restaurant getting a great review, only to have the chef call the newspaper to complain that the critic was sorely mistaken and the restaurant’s food isn’t as good as the review made it out to be. That bizarre scenario was all I could think of when I received an email yesterday from the School […]


With all that’s going on in the kid-and-food world these days, I’m getting sucked back into my old five-day-a-week posting schedule against my will!    Here’s the latest: SNA Asks For A Sit-Down with FLOTUS The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has asked for a meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama and the U.S. Department of […]


A Pill Too Bitter to Swallow

by Bettina Elias Siegel on June 16, 2014

Many years ago, I mentioned to a doctor friend that a woman I knew — a Seventh Day Adventist who never touches alcohol — had been told she was at risk for cirrhosis of the liver due to her poor diet and excess weight.  My doctor friend looked at me skeptically and said I must have misunderstood the diagnosis — one […]


Last Friday, conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker wrote an editorial praising the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) current attempts to roll back the nutritional improvements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), derisively referring to the legislation as “the first lady’s well-intentioned but disastrous school nutrition program, otherwise known as the Dumpster Derby.” In this regard, Parker is […]


School Food Professionals vs. Kids: How Did It Come to This?

by Bettina Elias Siegel on May 20, 2014

When I walked into my first Houston ISD School Food Services Parent Advisory Committee meeting, I knew next to nothing about school food except that my district seemed to be doing a pretty poor job of preparing it. But in the intervening four years, in which I educated myself about the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), started this […]


Giving Kids Junk Food “Treat Bags” for Standardized Testing?

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 7, 2014

This morning I belatedly opened an email from my son’s middle school, which last week asked parents to donate items for “treat bags” for the 6th graders taking our district’s standardized tests. Here’s what volunteers were asked to bring:  Goldfish, Blow Pops, peppermint candies, Hershey’s kisses, bite-size Snickers, 100-calorie packs of cookies, Starburst candies, clementines […]