Mom fights junk food, "second-hand obesity" in schools

June 17, 2009 4:41:20 PM PDT
No one disputes Meme Roth's message about good nutrition, but some folks wonder if her methods go just a little too far.

What can you say about a mom who calls Santa Claus fat, campaigns against Girl Scout cookies, and really, really doesn't approve of parents giving her kids cupcakes, doughnuts, or candy for birthday celebrations in school?

Tara Maurice, another mom, doesn't think much, "If you overprotect than you never give your kids a chance to have common sense of their own ."

Meme Roth's crusade to get permission slips for sweet treats like birthday cupcakes has made her unpopular at New York City's Public School 9.

Roth, a member of National Action Against Obesity, says, " If you bring in a serving of 1 that's about your child, if you bring in a serving of 25 that's about everybody's children. We don't bring food into school, we're asking other parents to stop feeding our children."

Her passionate activism did not come out of thin air.

As the daughter and granddaughter of obese women, she saw firsthand the damage done by extra pounds and is determined that she and her family will not have their lives and derailed by what she calls "second-hand obesity."

Roth says, "When you see obesity rob the people you love the most of their health, and their hope, and their aspirations you really feel like you can't pleasantly sit back."

Meme's style has always been "in your face confrontation." In 2006, her war against junk food prompted one PTA member to e-mail, "Please, consider moving."

She did move - to New York City.

But the principal at the new school recentled Roth "hostile," saying she lost her cool in a meeting, tossing Valentine's candy, and using foul language.

But she says the criticism won't deter her mission to fight obesity.

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