QOTD: Should Obese Kids Be Taken Away From Their Parents?

Doctor Says Obese Children Should Be Raised In Foster Care

We’ve all seen the “chunky” child, you know the one who has a little more trouble completing regular childhood activities – like running, jumping and walking up the stairs at the rate of their smaller peers.

As America deals with increasing issues of obesity in both children and adults, the question now is who’s to blame? Are parents responsible for their overweight children?

Dr. David S. Ludwig thinks that parents are in part to blame for their child’s issues with BMI (body mass index). He considers parents who allow their children to overeat as an issue of neglect. There are programs in place for malnourished children, but nothing for children who are suffering from obesity he argues.

Ludwig also notes that,

Federal law, which establishes a minimum standard for states, defines child abuse and neglect as “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm . . . or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.” The seriousness of neglect is judged according to the magnitude or risk of harm and by its chronicity.

Childhood obesity can create an onslaught of lifelong problems if the child fails to lose weight.

According to the CDC, these problems include:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • sleep apnea and other breathing problems
  • joint pain
  • gallstones
  • heartburn
  • poor self-esteem and other potentially debilitating psychological problems

In his article in the Journal of The American Medical Association Ludwig concluded:

An increasing proportion of US children are so severely obese as to be at immediate risk for life-threatening complications including type 2 diabetes. Some will become candidates for treatment at newly established pediatric surgical weight loss programs throughout the country. As an alternative approach, involvement of state protective services might be considered, including placement into foster care in carefully selected situations. Ultimately, government can reduce the need for such interventions through investments in the social infrastructure and policies to improve diet and promote physical activity among children.

I’m not sure if parents are to completely blame for their child’s issues with weight.  I think with programs like Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign we’re moving in the right direction. It would seem that taking a child away from their parents is an EXTREME decision. At a certain age most children get more of a choice in what they eat, so does Ludwig plan to police every American home at dinner time?

Do you agree with Ludwig? Are parents to blame for childhood obesity? Will foster care help solve the problem or hinder?


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