The Answer Sheet: Health

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 11/12/2010

Palin: Parents should decide what kids eat in school

An effort by the Pennsylvania Board of Education to encourage public schools to limit sweets and introduce more healthy foods has attracted an unlikely critic: Sarah Palin.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 11/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:13 AM ET, 11/11/2010

Yes, you can teach kids to eat broccoli

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it, but at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington D.C., chef Lisa Dobbs runs a food program that has young students relishing broccoli, tilapia encrused with panko, boureks with beef or vegetables, and other foods not commonly embraced by kids.

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:13 AM ET, 11/11/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 07/27/2010

Good, bad news on U.S. children

Even before the U.S. economic turndown began in the late 1990s, the child poverty rate had increased in this decade, affecting nearly one-fifth of American kids, according to a new report on the well-being of American kids.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 07/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:03 PM ET, 07/15/2010

Fairfax schools' food program named nation’s best

Good news for Fairfax County Public Schools: It’s nutrition program was named best in the country by the School Nutrition Association. What makes it so good.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:03 PM ET, 07/15/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:24 AM ET, 07/12/2010

Questions for Michelle Obama's live Web chat on obesity

First Lady Michelle Obama is hosting her first live web chat on Tuesday about her national campaign to end the country's obesity epidemic. Here are a few questions for her.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:24 AM ET, 07/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 PM ET, 06/02/2010

Must we link P.E. (and everything else) to test scores?

Is there nothing in education today that we do not feel the need to justify through improved standardized test scores? A new report is out about physical education in public schools. The news is not good.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 PM ET, 06/02/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:04 AM ET, 05/30/2010

School junk food ban works, study finds

Banning junk food from schools actually does have a beneficial effect on students, a new research study shows.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:04 AM ET, 05/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 05/26/2010

When teens get too affectionate at school

Maybe it’s the advent of spring, or the promise of prom, but more students are engaging in public displays of affection at school--and it isn’t only the adults in the building who are getting embarrassed and annoyed. Kids are complaining that their friends are grossing them out. Where should the line be drawn?

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 05/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:38 PM ET, 05/13/2010

When adults hit kids at school

There is a video making the Internet rounds, shot by a student, of someone identified as a teacher beating up a student. It’s ugly. But let's not forget that in 20 states, adults are allowed to whack kids for disciplinary reasons, and more than 200,000 kids a year are subject to corporal punishment. Congress may take up a bill soon to outlaw the practice.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:38 PM ET, 05/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:42 PM ET, 04/25/2010

Banning cookies: Is this school going too far?

A Tucson school bans all processed foods, meaning kids can't even bring a cookie for lunch or risk having it taken away. Is this school going overboard?

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:42 PM ET, 04/25/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 04/16/2010

What should happen to kids who sext?

The principal of a middle school where kids were found to have bought and sold sexual images had no choice but to bring in authorities to see if any laws had broken. But that doesn’t mean the kids should have the legal book thrown at them.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:00 AM ET, 04/16/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 04/09/2010

Allergies can affect kids' grades

School nurses are sending home notes to parents that they are seeing more kids come in with symptoms of allergies, and for many kids, they are more than just an irritant. They can affect how well they do at school.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 04/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:07 PM ET, 03/18/2010

Video game hurts schoolwork of boys--study

Researchers are trying to tell parents something about video games: New studies show that they can affect test scores in young boys, and violent games can foster aggressive behavior in gamers.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:07 PM ET, 03/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:50 PM ET, 02/04/2010

Why haven't all school systems decided to close on Friday?

I’d like to know why all of the school systems in the Washington area haven’t already ordered schools closed for tomorrow. My colleagues Michael Birnbaum and Jenna Johnson have reported that school systems are weighing what to do for tomorrow because of the foreboding weather forecasts, but doing it with an eye on how many days they have in their scheduled for such events and how many have already been used.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:50 PM ET, 02/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:08 AM ET, 02/03/2010

Why I doubt the abstinence-only sex ed study

I’m not an expert on scientific research but I question the results of a highly publicized research study on an abstinence-only program that is being touted as persuading young teens not to have sex. The abstract of the study says that the outcomes were self-reported, meaning that the researchers took the word of middle and high school students about whether they had had sex or not.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:08 AM ET, 02/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:07 PM ET, 02/02/2010

Schools and overweight kids

Would you support a university's decision to grant diplomas to overweight students only if they took a special fitness class? One school actually did this for several years.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:07 PM ET, 02/02/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:15 AM ET, 01/26/2010

Sex education -- the right kind

Cause and effect can be hard to determine, but it seems fair to link at least part of the rise of abstinence-only sex education during the last decade to the newly reported rise in teen pregnancy. Congress should pay sharp attention and stop spending money on what doesn't work. A report released today shows that the pregnancy rate among teenage girls in the United States has jumped for the first time in more than a decade... What kind of sex ed works?

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:15 AM ET, 01/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:18 PM ET, 01/10/2010

School snow delays -- Part 2

Many of your comments about the wisdom of opening schools late on Friday because of snow served to solidify my thinking that complainers should give it a rest. In fact, I wish I had thought about some of the points you made.

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:18 PM ET, 01/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:08 PM ET, 01/08/2010

P.E. humiliations can be lasting

Were you ever humiliated in gym class when you were a kid, and do you remember the episode as if it happened yesterday? Well, according to one researcher, phys ed humilitations are so powerful that they can keep someone from pursuing active physical fitness later in life.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:08 PM ET, 01/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 01/08/2010

How one university (using an ibis) handled the swine flu outbreak

By Donna E. Shalala. Beginning in the spring of 2009, when we first heard about the threat of an outbreak of swine flu (H1N1), the University of Miami began planning for a pandemic and working diligently according to the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Miami-Dade County Health Department in order to prepare for mass immunization. This was especially important for a university campus, since we were warned that college-age students were among the populations that were most vulnerable to be affected by a potential pandemic.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:30 AM ET, 01/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 12/04/2009

Holder, Duncan hear bad news about domestic violence-and good things teens are doing to help

With domestic violence among young people on the rise and the nation fascinated by real and rumored acts of violence among the celebrity set, it seems like a perfect time for a public discussion about domestic violence and healthy relationships with teenagers. And that’s what Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan held at the Justice Department when they sat down with teens who are part of a nonprofit organization called "Start Strong."

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 12/04/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 11/20/2009

The (somewhat strange) List: Foods banned by law in school cafeterias

When I think about the “foods of minimal nutritional value” that are banned from school cafeterias by federal law, the first thing that pops into my mind is a doughnut, one made delicious by hideous amounts of fat and sugar. But when I was researching school nutrition on the Agriculture Department's website, I came across the list and discovered doughnuts aren’t on it. Soda water is, though. So are cough drops. Here's the list.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 11/20/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 10/27/2009

Why most schools don't teach about mental illness

Lorraine Kaplan had a son who was a star at school. At 17, he had top grades, was a debater and first trombonist in his school’s orchestra. But seemingly overnight, his brain turned on him. He became obsessive and then started hallucinating. A doctor told her not to tell anybody--and she didn't, for a decade because of the stigma associated with mental illness. Now she is trying to get schools to destigmatize mental illness.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 10/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:28 AM ET, 10/22/2009

What Kind of Sex Ed Works?

Lately I've heard people say that if parents want their teenage girls to abstain from sex, they should make them listen to Taylor Swift’s song “Fifteen,” or read the wildly popular “Twilight Saga” series of four books. I wondered what reach into the teen psyche popular culture has on individual teen behavior so I conducted a scientific survey. I asked three people involved with sex education how much the popular culture affects teen behavior.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:28 AM ET, 10/22/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:44 PM ET, 10/19/2009

Obama and sensible school lunch schedules

hen President Obama made a surprise visit today to Viers Mill Elementary School in Silver Spring to share a meal with third- and fifth-graders, he picked a school that has reasonable lunch schedule for its kids. The school says that its students have 30 minutes to eat their lunch every day. But there are plenty of other schools where kids have 15 or 20 minutes to eat. And some students are forced to eat lunch before 11 a.m. How much time for lunch should students get?

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:44 PM ET, 10/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)