Is letting your child become obese a form of child abuse? That is the hot debate right now in an article I read on ABC News’ website. Children with extreme obesity are being removed from their parents’ house and put into foster care so they can lose weight. In the article, the children came from low-income families where the parent either couldn’t afford to buy healthier food or they worked several jobs and didn’t have the time to cook. It was very sad to read as the parents were obviously trying to do what was best for their families by providing for them in the best way that they could. One parent worked several jobs so they wouldn’t have to live in an unsafe area, but unfortunately, that resulted in fast food dinners for her 400 lb child.
I’m not sure where I stand on this debate. I see both sides and there are definite pros and cons to both sides, but separating a child from their parent when it’s not a clear case of physical or sexual abuse seems wrong. So often times parents who do hit or molest their children get to keep them. Yet a parent who can’t watch their kid’s diet, but is otherwise a good parent loses their child. At the same time, a 13 year old child who is 400 lbs is far from healthy and is definitely in grave danger of an early death and a slew of health problems.
Ideally what needs to happen is there needs to be nutrition and exercise programs available to families in low income areas. Kids need to have a place they can go to get healthy meals and a chance to work out when they have busy parents. However, with our national debt growing by the second and no end in sight, a government run program like this will never happen. I wish local communities could raise money for that type of thing.
There is such a push to try to eat healthier, but it is much more expensive. Why can’t the prices on fruits and veggies be reduced somehow? Everyone could still make a profit, but if a carton of strawberries is priced like a McDonald’s hamburger, maybe more people will eat it. Local gyms make quite a bit of money, especially if they are a big chain like 24 Hour Fitness. Can’t they offer free classes to overweight kids from low income areas?
I would think there are a lot more solutions out there beyond taking the kids away. And so the kids have success in losing weight in the foster homes, but what is to say what would happen to them when they return home to the same situation? Does that mean they are never allowed to go home? On some level it is abuse to let your child weigh hundreds of pounds more than they should, but there are ways to fix it without separating the parents from them.