If we don't know by now that obesity in childhood is a problem, then we've really been hiding under that proverbial rock.
But more and more people believe that very obese youngsters are falling into the category of abused/neglected children.
A couple in Scotland have lost custody of two of their children for numerous reasons but one was ignoring warnings from social services to reduce their children's food intake and get their weight down.
Here in America, over-weight children are also facing the threat of removal (some have already been removed) from their parents when parents refuse to curtail their children's eating to such an extent that their young children (under the age of ten) are weighing upwards of 200 lbs. Some parents, heavily over-weight themselves, do not acknowledge a problem or claim their child's obesity (no matter how dramatic) is simply "puppy fat" that they'll grow out of.
Heavily over-weight kids are now facing issues that were once the domain of adults. They are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, some as early as age ten or eleven. And most of these children return to a healthy state once their excess weight is lost.
About one in five children are obese in America and according to the Surgeon General's office, about two out of every three adults is classed as over-weight or obese. The odds of an over-weight child becoming an over-weight adult are high. Getting children to a healthy weight now, will give them a fighting chance of becoming a healthy adult later.
There is also a problem on a social level. Many of these children come from poor backgrounds, with little access to parks or playgrounds and this lack of exercise, combined with cheap, unhealthy foods, paves the way for an over-weight child. They may come from single parent homes where no-one is home to monitor their eating habits or the parent over-compensates for time away, with food.
The chairman of Britain's Child Growth Foundation, Tam Fry, is attempting to make over-feeding a child a legally recognized form of child abuse in the UK. So far, he has not succeeded but is not giving up on the issue. He believes severely over-weight children should be removed from the home until the child and parents are educated in the area of exercise and nutrition. Once authorities are satisfied that the home will be a healthier place for the child and the over-feeding will stop, parents will regain custody.
Other professionals believe that removing a dangerously obese child is wrong on any level, and will hurt the child more than help him/her. They believe instead that education in exercise and nutrition alone should suffice.
The people who disagree with this mindset liken it to under-feeding a child. They argue that since severely malnourished children would be removed with no question, the same should be done for severely over-nourished children who can face health consequences that can be just as serious.
Do you think severely over-fed children should be removed from their homes, the same way severely under-fed children are? Or do you think this is an intrusion on parental rights?
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Well, and just in the last 3 weeks there was the case of the baby whose weight was in the 95th percentile and the family's insurance company declined to cover the baby. The baby was shown on television -- it was a perfectly round, chubby 1-year-old baby who had two lean and healthy-looking parents.
One of my nieces was a chubby baby -- in fact, one of her affectionate nicknames was "chunky monkey" -- but by about age 2 she'd dropped most of the baby fat naturally. She's now 12 and has been long, lean and lanky for years.
We clearly have an obesity crisis, and it is affecting our kids as well. No argument there. But we're starting down the slippery slope of letting weight define us -- and more dangerously, define our kids -- and issues like this just illustrate it. It's very worrisome.October 23, 2009 - 10:18am
Highly hypocritical way of dealing with children. As statistics on divorce clearly show, the worst thing to a child is to be deprived of one or both parents. Only very serious ill-treatment could justify the separation. Why don't you ask the children in the first place? The UK case seems altogether totalitarian.October 22, 2009 - 3:05pm
Great share Susan. I believe that this is a great thing to do. It is in fact, neglect. Just as a child is subjected to malnourishment, they are also under severe neglect for the outcomes of obesity.October 17, 2009 - 8:32am
Either way you look at this situation, it is clearly an unhealthy lifestyle and should be curtailed as early intervention which may save the children’s lives. I remember watching Maury Povich one time and there were several Mother’s on the show that were feeding their children anything and everything they wanted with no remorse for early death sentence they were causing their children. This is out of control.
I can say that with so many health issues that are caused by obesity, children should be removed from the house so they may have the chance to live healthy lives. I don’t understand how anyone would believe that under nourishment and over nourishment are any different. It is still neglect.