Are your embryos safe? How fertility center in Austin keeps tissues viable after tanks at two centers fail

This month, two fertility  facilities acknowledged that their storage systems have failed. Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco said that there had been a liquid nitrogen failure in one of its tanks holding thousands of eggs and embryos. In Cleveland, University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center announced that a storage tank holding 2,000 eggs and embryos had suddenly heated up, damaging its contents.

Tanks at Ovation Fertility are closely monitored to make sure they are kept at the right temperature.

The news is heartbreaking. People count on these fertility banks to store what could become their future children. It made us wonder: Are people in Austin at risk for losing their eggs and embryos? We talked to Tex VerMilyea, laboratory and operations director for Ovation Fertility, the lab attached to Texas Fertility Center.

The news, he said, caused Ovation Fertility to re-evaluate its systems, and once more is known about what happened in the cases in San Francisco and Cleveland, more re-evaluation will be done.

“This is the worse nightmare of anyone in the field,” VerMilyea said. “It’s a wake up call to make sure we are being diligent.”

RELATED: New research done in Austin helping women get pregnant and stay pregnant

Right now, at the facility, each cryotank where eggs, embryos and sperm are stored records a temperature every five minutes. If there’s any fluctuation above five degrees, it triggers an alarm tree that notifies VerMilyea, the facility manager and the supervisor. Every day VerMilyea receives a report of what the temperatures have been in each tank for the last 24 hours. Ovation Fertility also inspects the tanks daily to look for condensation, which would point out that the vacuum seal around the tank is failing. The tanks are topped off with more liquid nitrogen once a week.

The tanks Ovation Fertility use submerge the tissue in liquid nitrogen, rather than using just some liquid nitrogen and allowing the vapor from the nitrogen to do the cooling. The tanks are set to be -196 Celsius, with an alarm sounding at -191 Celsius. If the tank used vapor, the temperature inside would be between -180 and -140 Celsius. -139 is when cells start to degrade.  Some facilities use the vapor method because there is a theoretical risk of contamination using liquid only and vapor is cheaper. VerMilyea said because Ovation Fertility uses the liquid method, if something did happen, they would have time to move the embryos, egg and sperm to another tank before the tank hit -139 Celsius. We don’t yet know whether the tanks in San Francisco and Cleveland used 100 percent liquid nitrogen or some liquid and some vapor.

Labs also have to plan for what happens if there is a loss of power, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires and more.

Theoretically, tissue stored at the correct temperature could last indefinitely. Recently, a 25-year-old woman gave birth using an embryo that was a year younger than herself.











This year’s flu had nothing on the 1918 flu; UT researcher knows why

This flu season wasn’t pleasant. In fact, at times it has felt like everyone around us had either had it or knew someone close to them who got it. Sometimes it wasn’t even just one strain that people got, but two of the three that were going around.

While this season was highly contagious, it wasn’t considered a pandemic, just an epidemic, says Spencer Fox, a graduate student of computational biology at the University of Texas. “This seasonal flu was large because it was roughly the same flu subtype, but due to mutations and a variety of different factors, it became more transmittable,” Fox says. He’s been crunching numbers to see what trends since 1889 can be discovered when it comes to flu.

In this 1918 photo made available by the Library of Congress, volunteer nurses from the American Red Cross tend to influenza patients in the Oakland Municipal Auditorium, used as a temporary hospital. Edward A. “Doc” Rogers/Library of Congress

Specifically, he’s been looking at the 1918 pandemic, which celebrated its 100th birthday this week.

The 1918 virus, he says, was something new to humans, which is why doctors didn’t know how to fight it and why the number of deaths was so high. It’s estimated that that flu killed more than the number of people killed during World War I and World War II combined, he says.

World War I also helped spread the disease as large movements of people traveled across continents to fight in the war. It was also a mutation of three different types of flu: ones that started from bird, horse and swine. “It was a very novel virus,” Fox says. “It was a perfect storm to spread.”

Flu viruses tend to start in livestock and then become transmittable to humans. That’s why scientists become so interested in the avian flu viruses that emerge from Southeast Asia. They are looking for the next pandemic that will go from livestock to humans. For some reason, that area of the world appears to be a hotbed for new viruses, Fox says.Researchers aren’t sure why except that it might have to do with the amount of livestock encountered by a large percentage of that population. “For some biological reason, it has tended to be a source for flu diversity,” Fox says. “Viruses are spreading and mutating everywhere, but that’s where mutations are being sourced into the rest of the world. The ones that are occurring there tend to be dominate.”

Dr. Scott Nowlin fills out paperwork after examining three year-old Royanna Ayala inside one of the flu tents located at the Dell Children’s Medical Center in 2009 during the swine flu pandemic. RoyAnna’s mother, Sarah Ayala, brought her to the hospital because she had fever and was sleepy and achy. The medical personnel were seeing as many as 400 children with flu symptoms every day. AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2009

Fox says we have experienced a pandemic in our lifetime. The 2009 swine flu was one, and it didn’t follow the typical pattern of emerging from Asia. It went from livestock in Mexico to humans in the rest of the world very quickly. Like all pandemic flues, it was new.

It also followed the typical pattern that many people don’t think about when it comes to flu. It started in spring with a second large wave in fall. We think of flu as a winter disease, which is true for the seasonal disease, like the one we have experienced this year. A true pandemic tends to emerge in spring, though. It’s a pattern that Fox found in his research looking at newspapers as well as journals from army generals who described strange illnesses infecting their troops.

The seasonal flu might actually be protecting people from a pandemic flu during the winter months, but when the immunity wears off a few weeks or a month after the seasonal flu has hit, a pandemic flu could emerge.

The swine flu of 2009 gives us some hope that we won’t experience another pandemic like 1918. Within five months of the swine flu hitting, a vaccine had been developed. We also had thought that with a pandemic no one would be immune, yet, in 2009 researchers found that not everyone exposed got the swine flu that year. This was also true with the Ebola outbreak of 2014.

Last January, Adrian Tadeo, 7, grimaces a little as he receives a Flu shot from nurse Tanya Roland, left, during a visit to St. John’s Clinic Shots for Tots / Big Shots. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

One theory is that the flu virus that you are first exposed to tends to have give you some additional protection to that type of virus. “The things we don’t know yet is how that influences your chances of getting or transmitting the flu as far as strength and duration,” Fox says.

We also now have medical advances that can prevent the death toll from rising. Most flu deaths come from secondary infections. Antibiotics help to prevent those. With a true pandemic, we also might do things like shut down schools to stop the spread, start a hand-washing campaign, and wear face masks.

We also now have a flu vaccine, which even though not always as effective as we want every year, it does help diminish the amount of flu cases and seriousness of the cases. We also have antiviral drugs that also help diminish the strength of the flu.

Study: Number of kids treated for opioids in hospital intensive care units doubled

If you think the opioid epidemic is just an adult or teenager problem, a new study says otherwise. The study published in the March issue of “Pediatrics” from the American Academy of Pediatrics looked at hospital admissions from  2004 to 2015 to identify the number of kids being treated in the pediatric intensive care unit for opioid-related treatment. What it found was an almost doubling of the number of cases of opioid ingestion. The biggest increase was in kids ages 1 to 4. Opioid-related hospitalizations were most prevalent in teens ages 12 to 17, but about one-third of the hospitalizations were in children younger than age 6.

The opioid epidemic continues to affect thousands. (Dreamstime)

What kids ingested also varied by age. For younger kids age 1 to 5, methadone was found in their system. For older kids, ages 12 to 17 it was heroin. This points to the fact that young kids are getting into their parents’ or someone else’s medication and swallowing it.

All medications including prescription and over-the-counter should be stored out of sight in a high cabinet with child-proof locks or in a lock box.

The good news is that the deaths in children from opioid ingestion had gone down, but many kids were not able to go home right away. Instead, they were sent to long-term care, skilled nursing or pediatric psychiatric facilities.

A new feminism: Author Elle Luna wants women (and men, too) to find their power to tell their story at SXSW

Artist, author Elle Luna is trying to create feminine power one woman at a time with her new book “Your Story Is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice,” (Workman Publishing, $17.95), which she co-authored with author and psychotherapist Susie Herrick.

The book takes women through three different parts of their world that might be holding them back. The first is the water they are swimming in: All those messages, those advertisements, those rap lyrics, those movies, that tell women that they are less than men. The second is their family story that might inform how they view the roles of women and men. The third is their own personality and how the nine Enneagram personality types might be leading women to make the same mistakes over and over again.

Susie Herrick, left, and Elle Luna have written “Your Story Is Your Power.”

Luna will talk about the book and lead participants through a conversation about how we think about women in her talk named after the book at 9:30 a.m. Monday, room 10AB at the Austin Convention Center.

Luna was approached by her editor to write the book, which came out last week, in response to the 2016 election and the 2017 Women’s March. Women have continued to speak out in the ensuing months. “It is exciting,” she says. “Emma (González) in Florida standing on the front steps saying, ‘ENOUGH!’ … and Tarana Burke and the Me Too movement … She recognized that women need a safe place to share stories of sexual abuse and harassment.”

Luna, 36, whose previous book was “The Crossroads of Should and Must,” was given nine months to put together the book, which included 450 paintings. She brought in Herrick, who is the author of “Aphrodite Emerges,” and who has been studying feminism and misogyny.

“We’ve really been looking at the stories we tell ourselves,” Luna says. She benefited, personally, from Herrick’s wisdom that comes from being about two decades older than her.  “We were both stuck in similar ways in our lives at different times,” Luna says. “She had been down this path.”

Luna, who grew up in Dallas, has a bachelor’s degree in English and art history from Vanderbilt University and a master’s of fine art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She spent her early career doing design for tech startups in Silicon Valley before she rented out a warehouse in 2013 and began painting again. In addition to being an author, Luna organizes #The100DayProject, which invites people to do something creative for 100 days and post it beginning April 3. About a million people in 65 countries have done so — everything from art work to embroidery to vegan cooking.

Luna definitely taps into her artwork for this book. It mixes words with artwork and painted words of quotes from famous people. Luna was inspired by Instagram and the way that people scan for information and are drawn to images. She sees it as a book that appeals 50 percent to the left side of the brain and 50 percent to the right side. It’s one that can be scanned, then glanced at, then read, then delved into more deeply depending on what you are ready to get out of it.

It’s for teenage girls and mature women, too.

The book uses the symbol of a labyrinth for discovering your power — which Luna and Herrick think of as electricity rather than strength or dominance over another person.

The labyrinth has two parts, the spiral and the meandering. The spiral represents going inside of yourself deeper and deeper and then coming back out. The meandering is the process of discovering. It’s very rarely a straight line.

“This book is how do we create that safe space internally where we can get really close to the water we are all swimming in and begin to wake up and flip on the light.”

For Luna, it’s the idea of when you find your power and work on the internal, then you can work on the external.

“In my own experience, when I stopped taking it internally, like hell was I going to take it externally.”

Working on the internal, that’s what helps women speak up. “That is what changes everything,” she says.

It’s figuring out why you get stuck in the ways you get stuck. She likens it to bowling and the book is the bumpers that help you avoid rolling a gutter ball. It helps you see where you want to go and helps you get there rather than making the same mistakes over and over again and winding up in the gutter again.

For Luna, it was about working on the voice in her head and how she talked to herself. Now she tells herself: “You need to say something nice to me, be my advocate.”

Sometimes the labyrinth can feel like taking two steps forward and 20 steps back, she says. “I’m still in the labyrinth.”

“Your Story Is Your Power” looks at the messages we are telling our girls and our boys. It looks at the fairy tales of Cinderella, Snow White and Beauty & the Beast. “What are we really telling girls, that they have to be beautiful housekeepers, slender and demure, get the prince and become the queen?”

While the book focuses on the messages girls receive, Luna also recognizes that boys are also receiving messages, too. One friend told her about being taunted as a 10-year-old when he recognized the beauty of a sunset and pointed it out to two friends. The response was “Who are you, a girl?” “Girl” was a derogatory term.

The men who have showed up at events for the book have expressed sadness for what they recognize the women in their lives have gone through, she says. Luna recalls one man who was from Israel and told a story about being in a synagogue where only the men could turn the Torah scroll’s rollers. When a friend’s daughter ran forward to try to touch the Torah, she was yelled at. He told the story with tears in his eyes because he knew the message that that girl had received.

For women, Luna wants them to work on the internal, but also help lift up fellow women. Right now her goal is to get more women to vote by helping to make sure their friends are registered, by helping to take people to the polls to vote.

“How do we stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough’? Now we’re not going to be quiet and be cute. We’re going to rock the boat until we right the ship.”

“Your Story Is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice”

9:30 a.m. Monday

Austin Convention Center 10AB


Author of ‘A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance’ talks feminism and “The Bachelor” at SXSW

Emma Gray is at South by Southwest for the lighter side of her job. She’ll be doing her podcast “Here to Make Friends” at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Fairmount Wisteria Room. The podcast takes a feminist view of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” and she probably has a lot to say about the indecisive Arie and the women who tried to date him.

Emma Gray wrote “A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance.” Damon Dahlen

Gray, who focuses on women’s issues for the Huffington Post, has a new book: “A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance: A Feminist Handbook on Fighting for Good.” (William Morrow, $16.99)

The book was inspired by what Gray witnessed on Nov. 8, 2016, when she spent election night outside the headquarters of where Hillary Clinton supporters expected to be witnessing the election of the first female president, only to be shocked at the results.

She watched the crowd of people crying turn into a crowd of people marching in the streets the day after inauguration. “I saw that grief and fear translate into something productive,” Gray says.

It could have gone the other way, she says. “What I should have expected, but didn’t initially was how many women were inspired to run for office. The cynical side of me thought that women would be discouraged.” Instead groups like Emily’s List and She Should Run saw women signing up within weeks of the election. “That has kept up,” Gray says. “And we’re starting to see these women win.”

True success will be when we move beyond the “firsts” and get women in these roles regularly, she says.

As she was writing the book, the MeToo movement was starting to get underway. She was able to add in a couple of references to it, but it’s one of the ways that the 24-hour news cycle is changing the way information is spread and turning an event into a future movement.

“Everything feels crazier,” she says.


The book is written for girls in their early teens to early 30s, Gray says. “I made sure I wasn’t writing down for the teens,” she says. It’s filled with lessons she learned from interviewing many powerful women. Many of these women she knew as part of her job at the Huffington Post. They are women such as the organizers of the women’s march and other causes and politicians such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Texas Sen. Wendy Davis.

Mary Jane Olivares of Corpus Christi raises a fist at the Impeachment Rally at Austin City Hall on Saturday January 20, 2018. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Gray hopes that women and future women will use the book as their jumping-off point. “I see it as not as the definitive text but more of the beginners’ guide,” she says.

One thing that runs through the advice from powerful women is the importance of women telling their stories. “Almost all of them mentioned how important storytelling and their own narrative was in informing their own activism and in connecting people,” Gray says.

She points to the movement coming out of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, as perfect example of the possibilities. “Young people have always been the driving force of social movements,” she says. The kids in Parkland, like many before them, “had the audacity to imagine what could be,” she says.

“A Girl’s Guide to Joining the Resistance” offers passionate words of inspiration, but it also offers practical tips such as what app you can use to write to your Congressman or call up your senator.

Protesters attend a rally at the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to demand government action on firearms, on Feb. 17. Their call to action is a response the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (Mike Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

She encourages women to pick something manageable that they are passionate about rather than trying to do too much at the same time.”People can get very overwhelmed, very easily,” she says. “Small things do matter. You can pick one cause for now, ‘this is what I can do.'”

She encourages women to get support from people who might be different from themselves. “Men absolutely have a role as allies in this resistance,” she says … “We absolutely need to bring them into the conversation.”

She equates it to the way white women need to show up for women of color, for people who are transgender.

Her hope is that even more Millennials and the first members of Generation Z will vote. For their parents, she says, “You’ve prepared your kids well for this world. Now it’s your time to support them. You’ve raised these empowered young women. I would hope that we would all support these young women. They’re smart as hell.”



Are you ready for Sunday’s time change? Here are our tips

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The time change is coming. On Sunday at 2 a.m., you’ll set your clock ahead one hour (we know you’ll stay up all night just to do this).

Benjamin Villalpando needs his extra hour of sleep. Nicole Villalpando/American Statesman 2014

This one always feels harder than the one in the fall because we lose an hour, but unlike in the fall, we get to do it over spring break (or South by Southwest — the adult version of spring break).

What do we love most about this time change?

The sun doesn’t set until well after 7 p.m. That makes for some really nice nighttime walks or trips to the neighborhood park.

RELATED: What’s the best playground in Austin?

What do we like least?

Losing that hour (we have stuff to do!)

Trying to get a sleepy kid up when it’s dark and everything in their body tells them it’s an hour earlier.

For kids who are home all next week, they can gradually adjust their body clocks without having to wake up at what feels like an hour early on a Monday morning. For the rest of us, it’s going to be brutal.

Dr. Nina Desai, a family doctor at Baylor Scott & White Clinic Austin-North Burnet, said in a press release last fall, that often babies, young children and seniors feel the effects of time changes the most.

She offers these tips to make the transition:

  • About three days before the time change, try moving your bedtime 15-20 minutes later. This gradual change, along with delaying your wake time 15-20 minutes, can help decrease the symptoms of fatigue and irritability.
  • Try dimming the lights for about an hour after you wake up in the morning.
  • Avoid electronics and screen time on computers, tablets and phones. This can keep your body’s clock in check so you feel ready to wake up in the morning and ready for bed at night.
  • Get plenty of sleep leading up to the time change to avoid health and safety risks.

While it’s normal to feel tired for as much as a week after the time change hits, if you continue to feel tired or you already feel tired all the time, Desai wants you to go see your doctor to rule out a sleep disorder, metabolic disorder, depression or anxiety.

RELATED: Is my child getting enough sleep?



Just how ready are kids to pursue STEM careers? ACT has new data

We’ve seen more emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math — STEM — in schools in recent years. Are America’s kids making any headway? What about girls versus boys? What about kids at an economic disadvantage? What about by race?

The folks behind the ACT test has been analyzing its test results for the last five years to track changes from year to year. It released its STEM Readiness report on Thursday. 

So what did it find?

  • About 48 percent of the kids who took the ACT in 2017 said they were interested in STEM careers. That really hasn’t changed.
  • Only 21 percent met the STEM benchmark, which was scoring a 26 in STEM, which is taken from the math and science scores.
  • Of the kids who were interested in STEM, only 0.43 percent were interested in teaching math and 0.17 were interested in teaching science.
  • Economics and race mattered. Kids were considered underserved learners if they were the first generation to go to college; were African American, American Indian/Alaska native, Hispanic/Latino, or native Hawaiian/other Pacific Islander; or had a parental income of less than $36,000 a year. Of the kids who had none of these disadvantages, 32 percent met the STEM benchmark.  If they had one disadvantage, they were 11 percent ready; two disadvantages, 5 percent ready; three disadvantages, 2 percent ready.
  • Gender mattered, too. 18 percent of girls met the STEM benchmark compared with 24 percent of boys. Of those that wanted to go into STEM careers, 24 percent of boys were ready compared with 22 percent of girls interested in STEM.
  • Where kids lived mattered, too. Of the kids in rural settings interested in STEM, only 17 percent met the benchmark, compared with 18 percent in towns, 33 percent in the suburbs and 27 percent in urban environments.
  • In Texas, only 19 percent of kids taking the 2017 text met the STEM benchmark.
  • In Texas, white students met it 31 percent of the time, 8 percent for Hispanic students, 6 percent black, 21 percent Native Americans, and 51 percent Pacific Islander.

What can we do?

ACT made these recommendations:

  • Make graduation requirements that focus more on STEM.
  • Pay teachers who teach math and science more.
  • Establish a student loan forgiveness program for teachers in STEM.
  • Provide equal access to STEM classes no matter where a student lives.


Does your daughter want to advocate like a boss? Girls Empowerment Network has free advocacy program

Girls Empowerment Network has a cool program for girls who are in middle school, high school of college. Girls Advocacy Day teaches girls how to “advocate like a boss” on topics such as dating violence and sexual assault, sexual harassment on school campuses, bullying, discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender, and mental health. Attendees will meet with women who do this work. Lunch is provided

Kensington Jordan dances to a DJ with other girls at the Girls Empowerment Network’s “We Are Girls” conference in 2015. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The program is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church of Austin, 901 Trinity St.

It’s free, but you have to register at  Questions? Contact, call 512-808-4044, or visit

Here’s what the topics for the day look like from the registration form:

  • The Power of Advocacy: What is advocacy and what can it look like? How can we use our voices and collective power to contribute to positive change in our circles (friends and peers), schools, neighborhoods, and communities?
  • Advocating Like a Boss: Learn best practices in communication and public speaking to grow your confidence and impact as an advocate.
  • Small Groups: Identify community needs you’re passionate about and create group consensus on how to address and solve these needs.
  • Power Chats: Meet women who work in politics, public policy, and community organizing! This is your chance to connect with relatable role models and learn about advocacy from women who do the work!
  • Stress Management and Self-Care: Avoiding advocate burnout.


Plan ahead: What are you doing this spring break in Austin? We’ve got your family events calendar

Spring break is coming— a time when kids are screaming for joy at all the possibilities of fun; a time when parents are left trying to find a one-week camp for their kids, cobbling together care or trying to keep everyone entertained and away from screens all week long.

RELATED: How to get teens off screens and reading a book this spring break.

Austin, which gets overwhelmed by South by Southwest this week, does have things for kids to do all week, most of which have no South by Southwest tie-ins at all.

Check out a few of these:

See bull riders and the people who try to keep the bull away from the rider at Rodeo Austin. Mark Matson/Rodeo Austin 2014


Rodeo Austin. Watch the pigs race, the bull riders, barrel racers and more. $5-$8 fairgrounds admission, $20-$36 rodeo seats. March 10-24. Expo Center, 9100 Decker Lake Road.

Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, March 10-12, March 16-18. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade.

Kids Fest. Little Yoga House presents this two-day event. Enjoy musical acts, art projects, coding games, films, a family photo booth and Lego animation. Free. 1:30-3:30 p.m. March 13-14.The Little Yoga House Clarksville Location, 1211 Parkway.


123 Andrés aka Andrés Salguero plays Rock & Read at the Domain.

Thinkery. Unofficial SXSW Event: Kids’ Music Showcase. Kids’ music, plus hands-on activities. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 10. Free with admission. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

MyMusicRx + YOU WHO! Rock Show for Kids at the Fader Fort’s new location. 10 a.m.-noon March 15. $25 adults, $30/day of show; free children 10 and younger. Benefits the Children’s Cancer Association. 1501 E. Seventh St.

Bill Childs of Spare the Rock on KUTX presents these fun music for family events:

“Hello Dolly! A Tribute to Dolly Parton.” Celebrate Dolly Parton’s music with Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, Red Yarn, Jon Langford, 1-2-3 Andres, Ms. Kat, Que Pastas, SaulPaul and more. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 16. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children.

Rock & Read at the Domain. Musicians include the Hoots, 1-2-3 Andres, the Que Pastas, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship. 2-5:30 p.m. March 17. Free. Domain lawn by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dillard’s.

KUTx live broadcast kids’ music lineup. The KUTx live broadcast at the Four Seasons during South by Southwest will feature children’s music between the sets each morning. Red Yam and JareBare, March 14. Ms. Kat and SaulPaul, March 15. Laura Doherty and 1-2-3 Andres, March 16. Lucky Diaz & The Family Jam Band and Sugar Free Allstars, March 17. $5 for a wristband for the kids-only stage. $15 for the adult stage. Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.

Music and Movement. 11 a.m. March 12, Pleasant Hill Branch of the Austin Public Library.

Austin Ukestra. 1 p.m. March 11, Recycled Reads Bookstore.


Circus Chickendog has shows all week.

Circus Chickendog’s “1001 Tricks in 1 Hour!” See the original show with rescue dogs. 1 p.m. March 12-16, 10:30 p.m. March 17. $15, free for children younger than 3. The Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury Drive.

“Nugget and Fang!” ArtsPower’s musical about a shark and a minnow that get along. $9-$12. Noon March 10. One World Theatre, 7701 Bee Cave Road.

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 2 p.m. Sundays. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.

Bubble Guppies Live!: “Ready to Rock.” The Nickelodeon cartoon comes to the stage. $19-$29. 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. March 11. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive.


“Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Fox Searchlight

Alamo Drafthouse. Kids Camp: “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”: 10 a.m. March 10-15, Lakeline. 10:25 a.m. March 11, 10:30 a.m. March 12-15, Mueller. “The Iron Giant”: 12:45 p.m. March 10, 4 p.m. March 11, 7 p.m. March 13, Lakeline. 1:15 p.m. March 10, 4:15 p.m. March 11, 7:15 p.m. March 13, Slaughter Lane. Noon March 3, 6:30 p.m. March 4, 7:30 p.m. March 7, Village. “All Dogs Go to Heaven”: 10:15 a.m. March 10-15, Slaughter Lane. 9:30 a.m. March 17-18, Lakeline. “Back to the Future”: 1:15 p.m. March 17, Slaughter Lane.

Saturday Movie Matinee, “Despicable Me 3.” 2 p.m. March 10, University Hills Branch of the Austin Public Library.

Women’s History Month Film Series: “Wonder Woman.” 3:30 p.m. March 12, Old Quarry Branch.

Family Movie Night. “Jumanji”: 4 p.m. March 13, Cepeda Branch. “Robots”: 4 p.m. March 15, Cepeda Branch.

Friday Movie Matinee: “Sing.” 3:30 p.m. March 16, Old Quarry Branch.


Asian American Resource Center. Indian American Children’s Literature: Celebrate Indian literature with stories, crafts and games. Free. 2-4 p.m. March 18. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road.

BookPeople 10:30 a.m. story times: Brand New Books: March 10. Colors of Spring: March 12. Heartsong Music: March 13. Ms. Staci: March 14. Princesses and Warriors: March 15. Luchador Legends: March 16. Lucky Day: March 17. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “The Magician’s Hat”: March 10. “The Gingerbread Man and the Leprechaun Loose at School”: March 17.

Teen Book Club. “Bunker Diary”: 3 p.m. March 10, Central Library.

NBTween Book Club. “The Girl Who Drank the Moon”: 4 p.m. March 14, Howson Branch. “The Nest”: 6 p.m. March 15, Spicewood Springs Branch.

The Third Floor Corridor: Teen Harry Potter Club. 2 p.m. March 18, Central Library.


Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum has hands-on crafts all week. LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2013

Williamson Museum. Hands on History. Learn about the founding of Williamson County as the county celebrates 170 years, plus make a craft of the county namesake. Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 10. Williamson Museum, 716 Austin Ave., Georgetown.

Blanton Museum of Art. Look. Think. Make. Drop in and make art every Thursday. Noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free on Thursdays. Blanton Museum of Art. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Bullock MuseumSpring Break at the Bullock. Hands-on activities, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. March 12-16. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.

Crafternoon. 2 p.m. March 14, Cepeda Branch. 2:30 p.m. March 14, Carver Branch. 3 p.m. March 12, Dove Springs Recreation Center.

Perler Bead Saturdays. Noon March 10, University Hills Branch.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day. Learn different forms of exercise as a family, plus make art. Noon to 4 p.m. March 11. Free. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road.

Thinkery. Take Apart Art: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. March 16-18. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Contemporary Austin. Art Free for All. Explore Laguna Gloria and make art at this open house. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 10. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St.


The Colossal Robotic Hand is open at the Hill Country Science Mill.

Texas Museum of Science and Technology. This Cedar Park museum and planetarium will close after March 18. Currently you can see the exhibit “Amazing Butterflies” and do the TimeWalk, journey through the Precambrian and Jurassic eras and into the Holocene period. $18-$12. 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park.

Hill Country Science Mill. Robot Mania. Special hands-on activities. March 12-16. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Tween STEM Lab. Electric Sculpture with Squishy Circuits. 3 p.m. March 16, Cepeda Branch.

Teen Tech Week: Robot Petting Zoo: 2 p.m. March 11, Central Library. “Ready Player One”: 2 p.m. March 12. Pi Day: 1:30 p.m. March 14, Central Library. Bristle Bots: 2:30 p.m. March 15. Stop Motion Animation: 2 p.m. March 16, Central Library.

Thinkery. Cow Eye Dissection: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. March 10-12. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Curiosity Cube. Get a hands-on science experience at MilliporeSigma’s mobile science lab. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. March 10. Downtown Austin Farmers’ Market, 422 Guadalupe St.


The Easter Bunny will be at Hill Country Galleria and other malls around town.

Other fun

Toybrary Austin. Spring Break Staycation Party with Spunky Kids: 10:30 a.m. March 15. $10. Daddy and Me Playdate: Let’s Go Fishing: 10:30 a.m. March 17. $10. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Tabletop Tuesday. Games to play. 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

“PAW Patrol” Party. 10:15 a.m. March 16, Carver Branch.

Easter Bunny photos. Noon-6 p.m. March 18. Hill Country Galleria Central Plaza. Free, but photos available for purchase. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Noon-6 p.m. Sundays, Barton Creek Square. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Noon-6 p.m. Sundays, Lakeline Mall, Round Rock Premium Outlets,

Caring Bunny. For kids with special needs and sensory disorders and their families. 9-10:30 a.m. March 18. Barton Creek Square and Round Rock Premium Outlets. 10-11:30 a.m. March 18, Lakeline Mall. Free, but you need to register,

Why are one-third of our kids overweight? Some uncomfortable childhood obesity statistics

I just read this startling statistic from the American Academy of Pediatrics: 41.5 percent of teens ages 16-19 are overweight (85th percentile for body mass index), 20.5 percent are obese, (95 percentile for body mass index),  9.5 are obese type II (120 percent of the 95 percentile for body mass index) and 4.5 percent are obese type III (140 percent of the 95 percentile for body mass index).

A lot of obesity prevention programs are done in schools. In 2009, Lizbeth Lopez was jumping rope during class time at Walnut Creek Elementary School. American-Statesman 2009

For all ages, it’s 35.1 percent overweight, 18.5 percent obese, 6 percent obese type II, and 1.9 percent obese type III.

Those who are obese type II and type III have a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes.

RELATED: Want to reduce the chance of diabetes in your children? Worry about these things

Some researchers had thought America’s childhood obesity problem might be getting better, but this study, which used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999-2016, didn’t find that at all. The statistics continue to see a steady rise.

RELATED: Doctors be careful about how you talk to children about obesity

The Academy made these recommendations three years ago about what parents can do to help their children stay at a healthy weight:

• Buy fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, high-calorie snacks and sweets.

• If you want to have these foods for a special celebration, buy them shortly before the event, and remove them immediately afterward.

• Healthy foods and beverages (water, fruits, vegetables and other low-calorie snacks) should be readily available and in plain sight on the kitchen table or counter, or in the front of the shelf in the refrigerator.

• High-calorie foods should be less visible – wrapped in foil rather than clear wrap, and placed in the back of the fridge or pantry.

• Encourage children to eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

The Academy also recommended that families participate in 60 minutes of physical activity a day, limit screen time, reduce the number of television sets in their home, and remove screens from bedrooms and kitchens. They also recommended 9 hours of sleep a day.

RELATED: Are your kids getting enough sleep?

RELATED: American Academy of Pediatrics removes two-hour screen limit policy

Last year, the Academy also recommended that parents avoid giving children younger than age 1 juice and limit the juice intake throughout childhood. 

Another study also found that kids gain weight during breaks from school. Keep that in mind this spring break.