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Should Morbidly Obese Kids Be Taken from Their Parents?

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posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 05:49 PM
Now I saw this story yesterday and avoiding posting it because of the ramafications and potential backlash this sort of discussion would cause. However, I think now, re-reading it, that it's an important discussion to have.

Here is a snipet from the article:

Should morbidly obese children be taken from their parents? That's the question an increasing number of countries are grappling with amid the Western world's obesity epidemic.

The latest case to make headlines concerns a Scottish couple who lost custody of two of their six children on the basis of what was, their lawyer claims, a failure to reduce the kids' weight following warnings from Scottish social services. The couple lost their Oct. 14 appeal in a case that is far from clear-cut — representatives of Dundee City say they would never remove children "just because of a weight issue." But obesity appears to be the primary reason South Carolina mom Jerri Gray lost custody of her 14-year-old, 555-lb. son in May.

She was arrested after missing a court date to examine whether she should retain custody after doctors had expressed concern about her son's weight to social services. The boy is currently living with his aunt, and his mother is facing criminal child-neglect charges.

The rest of the article is available here.

So this begs the question, how far do we go to classify a neglectful parent? Is all there fault? Some would say no.

Yet the parents' share of responsibility in weight gain isn't always easy to judge. "It's unfair to blame solely the parents, when there's a myriad of other factors influencing a child's weight," says Dr. Dana Rofey of the University of Pittsburgh, whose weight-management clinic is regularly called on during custody battles in which one divorced parent blames the other for making a child obese. She says contributing factors include not just genetic predisposition and socioeconomic status but also environmental factors, like whether children have access to parks and playgrounds. Rofey also sees children of all ages sneaking extra food behind their parents' backs.

I really don't know what to think of this story. I mean if you are a parent of a 12 year old who is pushing 300 pounds and you do nothing to curb that problem, then YES you are neglectful. However how can one tell whether it is an issue with parents, or as stated above, environmental and genetic predisposition?

Thoughts ATS?


posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 06:23 PM
That is one of the messed up thing I ever did. It's like what Nazi Germany did

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 06:31 PM

Originally posted by starwarsisreal
That is one of the messed up thing I ever did. It's like what Nazi Germany did

I don't understand what your statement means? This is nothing like Nazi Germany, it's attempting to see whether or not parents are neglecting to provide their child with a healthy lifestyle.

Could you elaborate?


posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 06:38 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

star and flag
wow, this is tough. On one hand, I cannot see taking the child...on the other, it may save that child's life.

I just don't know. I guess there must be a way to discern clearly between a slow metabolism problem and a neglectful nuturing. Also, the parents should get kind of a "probation" period to start sliming the kids down, and making an attempt at their health WITH the origional parents.
As for this being like Nazi Gremany, that is base and childish to say. I imagine you are one of the folks comparing Obama to Hitler as well. Obesiety is primarily an AMERICAN problem, so it needs to be addressed.

edit to add: I bet a program to curtail this would be a lot cheaper than the medical expenses the child will incur throughout life with obesiety. Maybe family counsling, with a "food journal" to pinpoint wrether it's the child sneaking, or just plain neglect on the parents part.

[edit on 18-10-2009 by Enigma Publius]

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 06:43 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

This is a tough one. I can only see this issue through the eyes of a parent.

I taught my children healthy habits and practiced them myself. So much of parenting is providing example. If the parents are morbidly obese I would suspect is much easier to microwave or drive through for your food.

In history obesity could only be seen with the wealthy and pampered. People that worked for their food tended to stay on the slim side.

I don't buy the genetic thing for obesity...I do however for a large size.

I'm not so sure that removing the children would be the right thing to do. I see many other less drastic solutions.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 06:48 PM
reply to post by Witness2008

I agree with you, although I am curious as to the alternatives you see available?

I mean ofcourse there are exercise and dieting among other things, but what specifically could be done to teach not only the child but the parent how to go about their lives in a more positive and healthy way?

Thanks for the reply.


posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 06:58 PM
Wow!! This is tough. I don't believe a child should be taken away from their parents for this. The parents should be helped and monitered strictly. They have to be inspired and motivated to help their child. They need an adequate nutrition education. It is pretty sad when people on a low income can not afford fresh produce and better cuts of meat. My guess is that the children mentioned in the article are from lower income and lower educated parents.

I had a very strange experience with this same thing. I used to have one foster child at a time. I got one 12 year old girl who was 100 pounds over weight. Her pediatriction talked to me about it and said I needed to reduce the number of bad carbs in her diet. In foster care we are not allowed to feed the children any differently than the rest of the family. So guess what? My whole family all changed for this dear girl. I had her ride the exercise bike 20 min a day and jump on the trampoline for ten minutes. Things went well until one day she got real ugly with me and said she didn't have to obey me. She demanded to talk to her case worker. So I went and got the phone and let her talk to her worker. I ended up under investigation for putting a 12 year old on a "diet" and forcing her to exercise. When the investigator came out we were having dinner. I had a huge pan of stir fry on the stove and the girl loaded up on as much as she wanted. I never limited portions. When the child was finished, the investigator noticed she was outside jumping on the trampoline and playing with my daughter. They were having a good time. When the child was questioned she said the food was good and she could eat as much as she wanted. When questioned about the exercise, she said it was fun.

I was cleared of all charges. The whole report was mailed to me. I got to read everything the case worker said about me. Everytime I mentioned anything about the girls's weight, I was made to look evil. I was the bad guy. I had the girl for one month and she lost 15 pounds with me and lost a size.

I had to be very careful with her. She tried so hard to sabatoge her program. I did not know how addicted to food people can become. It was everything to her.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 07:03 PM
reply to post by hardamber

Wow, thanks for sharing that story with us. it's nice to see a foster parent really taking an interest in the child's development versus the paycheck associated with it.

I know how difficult social services and case workers can be. Having raised a family with in non traditional setting has brought them to my door more than once.

And I agree there is an addiction to food which is killing this nation. This idea of consuming until it's all gone is what has caused these sorts of issues to be discussed.

Thanks for your imput


posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 07:15 PM
Yes...without a doubt! They are your children and you are resposible for their health! If your kid is 12 at 300 pounds or some other crazy age/weight then you 1. Know they are overweight 2. Your the one feeding them 3. Responsible for their health and well being... so if your child is unhealthy and overweight then child protective services(usa) should take your child from you and you should be charged with endangering the welfare of a minor.


posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 07:30 PM
I don't think the children should necessarily be taken away from the parents but I think that in the case of morbidly obese children their lives are at risk (especially from a heart attack at a young age or other severe health problems) so I think the best solution ideally would be nutritional counseling for the entire family.

Most kids are not as active now as they were when I was growing up. We didn't have computers, we didn't have cell phones, we were outside running around a lot. I don't remember being inside (unless my parents made me, or in the winter) most of my childhood. Yeah, I'm old.

Aside from children not being active enough, they tend to be stress eaters and junk food eaters, and parents don't make healthy foods from scratch like they used to. It's a new era of consumers who are consuming too much high fructose corn syrup, diet drinks that actually mess with your metabolism and make you want to eat more and the usual processed foods eaten way too often.

I think when children go to their physician and they are observed to be obese the parents should be given the responsibility of going through nutritional education, and then some sort of follow up to ensure that they understand the medical (as well as social) ramifications of what could happen if they let their child continue on the path to morbid obesity. The social ramifications at the self-esteem developing age is almost as critical as the medical problems the child will be having in the future, if they don't yet have those problems in the present.

I don't know if the children should be taken away from the parents because there is no guarantee they will be placed in a foster home or with relatives that will guarantee any better results. I don't have a solid answer to the OP's question because I believe letting your child become morbidly obese is a form of child abuse but a lot depends on if the parents are willing to actively make changes to do something about it.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 07:44 PM
I agree with the comment about nutritional counseling. Can you imagine the horror a child would feel being taken away from his or her parents? I'm sure they would be devestated.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 07:49 PM
reply to post by Night Star

It would certainly be hard for any child to be removed from a setting they are familiar with. Sometimes however these sorts of things need to be done in order to protect the child from a miserable and bleek existance.

Now I am still on the fence on this one. In the most extreme of cases, yes remove the children, but for the medium ones, simply help the family make better choices and monitor their progress.


posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 08:20 PM
First, it's nothing remotely similar to Nazi Germany. In Nazi Germany, they'd simply have gassed the kid, and probably the parents as well. Such odious comparisons are meaningless.

I can see why the State might want to intervene. They're paying for health care. A morbidly obese person is going to have much higher health costs throughout his life, so they have an interest in preventing this. If the parents are culpable for the dangerous excess weight, then I can see holding them responsible for helping the kid to get down to a healthier weight. Failing that, there is some logic in removing the child from the unhealthy environment.

Unfortunately, this logic fails when you consider where to put the child. Disrupting the child's home is traumatic for the child, even if it is potentially lifesaving. Placing him with relatives might be OK, but in many cases there are no fit relatives to take a child. The child must be raised by the State, either in a home, or in a foster parent environment. These are often highly unsatisfactory.

While the initial problem, excessive weight, might be helped, having the State raise the kid would likely introduce many more problems that are just as bad or even worse.

It seems to me that rather than taking the kid away and punishing the parents for neglect, it would be far better to leave the family intact and work to educate the parents and possibly involve them in therapy to help them understand the need to get the kid's weight under control. Otherwise, you're just taking a bad situation and making it even worse.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 08:39 PM
Why NOT? They've been doing this for years for underweight children, no matter whether it was genetic, high metabolism or what the heck the pediatrician actually said about the health of the child, I saw this numerous times, At least they'd be doing something about an actual problem, cause really in the US how many children are actually underweight as opposed to Overwieght? This used to be a trend of seemingly wanting a fatter country and jealousy over those who were slimmer and didn't look like gluttonous PIGS! I say yes let's do it... my how the tables have turned hahaha!

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 08:41 PM
Removing children from their parents opens a whole new can of worms. They need help for being obese and they will need further counseling for the grief and trauma for the separation.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 09:46 PM
reply to post by tothetenthpower

I don't think they should take the kid away but I do think they need to make some sort of regulation that is medically regulated (as opposed to regulated by the government) for instance a doctor should be able to put an obese patient on a path to weight loss that includes exercise and diet, if the patient is morbidly obese the weight loss plan should become mandatory.

I think what we REALLY need are parents that are willing to stop giving their kids junk food so often, a little candy every now and then is no big deal but today's parents visit the local store and load up on sweets and snacks and give their kids little else. The path to a healthy future begins in early childhood and is the responsibility of the parent to instill good health values in the kid, but the culture should send some positive messages (here in the USA we have commercials on all the kids networks that say "get out and play"). I think another thing is we should not allow these kids more than an hour or two of TV/Internet a day, no one loses weight and stays healthy sitting around texting or playing video games.

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 09:52 PM
reply to post by Titen-Sxull

Those are some great ideas.

And yes I have seen a lot of kid's channels who have the positive, get out and play, eat healthy type things.

However, I see them followed up by junk food commercials among other things.

I've taken it a step further with their television however. I let my kids watch all the TV they want, they just aren't allowed to watch commercials. We have a PVR so I record all their shows and they fast forward through the numbing brain wash that is the commercial.

Thanks for your input.


posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 10:19 PM
*'s all around
Counseling and education are definitely the way to go.*

Every situation is unique unto itself though, but I believe that removal should be the last option.
That shouldn't be ruled out.
As (ldyserenity) pointed out, (* for that, but we could do without the prejudice).

I have said it before, and I'll say it again.
We live in what could be described as "the McDonalds generation", where instant gratification is what life has become all about.

It's so easy....
Too easy....

Poor kids.....

posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 10:25 PM
Morbidly Obese? Don't you think these kids have enough on there plates?


posted on Oct, 18 2009 @ 11:03 PM
Not really sure what to say about this one since I can't find the kid's height.

Overweight children aren't exactly that big of an issue for me since they can use their over-nutrition to develop their bodies (e.g. height) more come the puberty stage.

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