I was born with cellulite and fat thighs. My mom gave me small Philadelphia Cream Cheese packages when I sat in the grocery cart. Better than cookies, she thought. Now, at the heaviest I have ever been, I need to deal with disappointing results of my annual physical. My thyroid is normal (I was hoping that was the cause), and for the first time in my life, my cholesterol is high (only 9 points, but, still, it used to be at the very low end of normal.)

These facts are not good for a woman who could live on cheese , bread and wine. How do those French women do it? Oh yes, I’ve only smoked a total of 3 cigarettes in my life, and that was 2 puffs at a time of 7 cigarettes.

I am now fascinated with all the buzz about food and French child rearing practices and absolutely aghast at what we are doing here in New York City in America. Forty percent of New York City public school students are overweight or obese. Two percent of children have low food security, “vitamin deficiencies, a day with no food, a loss of weight, a month of being hungry. (

As an assistant principal, and before that a teacher, when a child was having difficulty in the morning. I asked two questions – “Are you hungry?” and “Did someone bother you on the way to school?” Many times I brought a child down to the cafeteria or used my own private “breakfast stash.”

I am amazed and angry that the City’s Health Department has suspended increasing the number of public schools (now 381 of 1,750) that serve free breakfast in the classroom. Why have they suspended it? Their research shows that 20% might be eating two breakfasts, one at home and one in class, and thus adding 90 units to their daily calorie intake.

What about the other 80% who don’t eat breakfast, who are then hungry and don’t concentrate or act out. (Let the City Health Department be accountable for the test scores of that 80%, not the teachers.)

A better solution is not to offer fried foods 6 or more times out of 22 monthly school lunches, to serve fruit and low calorie dry cereal and yogurt for breakfast. Restore gym to the school schedule and provide playground exercise equipment during the lunch recess.

I think Mr. Bloomberg should be required to post the calorie count of every item served in schools as he requires multi-location restaurants to do. After all, he is the CEO of 1.750 school “restaurants.”


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