That’s right. You heard it here first. There’s a huge debate brewing in Government. The big question has arisen that asks if parents of super obese children should lose custody of them. And what are they basing this on? It’s as simple as neglect. They argue that parents are neglecting their children. There’s no physical abuse, no sexual abuse, no emotional abuse. But abuse just the same. Not paying attention to what your child eats or how much exercise they get or don’t get.
In a provocative commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it seems to already have happened. The piece states that putting children in foster care temporarily is sometimes more ethical that obesity surgery.
Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, said the point is not to blame the parents, but rather act in the child’s best interest to do what the parents could not.
Approximately 2 million children in the U.S. are extremely obese. Some have obesity related conditions such as type-2 diabetes, breathing difficulties and liver problems. And it’s these children that the state would want to protect by removing them from their homes.
Ludwig said the issue arose after he saw a 90 pound 3 year old in his clinic several years ago. Her parents had disabilities, little money and trouble controlling her weight. At age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
Guess what? The state placed her in foster care. After a year, with proper nutrition and exercise she lost 130 pounds. Her apnea and diabetes disappeared.
A 2009 opinion article in Pediatrics said temporary removal from the home is warranted “when all reasonable alternative options have been exhausted.”
In that article they discussed a 16 year old weighing 440 pounds. She nearly died from breathing complications. Doctors discussed whether to report her family for neglect.
State intervention doesn’t require new legal requirements. Health care providers are required to report abuse, neglect or children at immediate risk.
Jerri Gray, a Greenville, S.C. single mother lost custody of her 14 year old son who weighed 555 pounds. She claims that she had to work 2 jobs so she didn’t have time to cook. She would buy fast food instead. The boy was turned over to her sister and in 2 years the boy lost over 200 pounds.
Other advocates for the other side are weighing in but it seems that the state can and will take a child if they find neglect.
So there you have it. It’s a serious issue. And one I’ve tried to tackle many, many times. Get your children off the couch, away from the computer or TV, stop feeding them the garbage that comes from the King, or the Clown, the Hut and the Box and bring them to the playground, the park or here! We have lots of programs for children. It’s educational, fun and safe.
Thanks for listening and have a healthy day!