Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Children?

14 Jul

ABC News: Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Children?

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.

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6 Responses to “Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Children?”

  1. Hannah July 18, 2011 at 7:21 AM #

    Such a hard but great question! Children who are starved by their parents are generally not questioned as the safety of the child–I do think that there should be very clear rules on when they remove a child. I know it’s extremely difficult for Child Services to deal with all kinds of abuse cases in regards of when to make the call to remove children from the home. But I do think that having a severely obese child is also a form of child abuse. The child’s life quality is clearly diminished and they are endangering the health of the child to an extreme. Obviously a child who is just overweight is not a case for Child Services. Does removing the child from the home even solve the problem?

    I do think preventative measures are the best approach to the problem. There is a difference between gross negligence due to ignorance and negligence due to willfulness. Educating parents and keeping PE programs in schools is a great start, as well as overhauling lunch menus.

    I disagree though that prepackaged or the so-called ‘cheap’ foods are actually cheaper than eating fruits, vegetables, and other healthier options. Beans are some of the cheapest foods available today and are very healthy. And most places in the United States get fresh produce which in season is always cheaper than a pre-prepared meal. I think the real problem lies in communities not having access to proper supermarkets–low income neighborhoods are notoriously under-served markets. Just look for supermarkets in the greater Denver area on google maps and you’ll see a trend in the lack of proper supermarkets in many low income neighborhoods. It’s like that across the United States and I think it’s terrible that people basically don’t have access to healthy food that helps prevent disease. I do think that is why many diseases are linked to lower income brackets in the US, and that it’s not necessarily just do to the lack of availability of healthcare.

    • Noel D. July 19, 2011 at 6:30 AM #

      That is interesting about the grocery stores. That probably does play a large role in this. I think the other factor is time. People in lower income brackets tend to work several minimum wage jobs to make ends meet, and as a result, don’t have time to cook. I cook 5 – 6 nights a week, and it can be a pain. It does take a lot of time to make fresh, healthy meals. So I think fast food becomes the mainstay because it’s fast and easy. Though one can argue that Subway is the fastest growing fast food chain in the country and they are as cheap as McDonald’s, but healthier. At least it’s a better option. It’s not ideal since they have a lot of sodium in their meats, but it’s better than a Big Mac.

      • Hannah July 21, 2011 at 2:57 AM #

        It’s true about time. I think the whole thing is rather horrifying to tell you the truth. I feel that marketing towards children and towards low income markets when the product in question is unhealthy is morally questionable as well.

  2. Hailey Cardinas November 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM #

    There is always in increasing trend in obesity these days as more and more people turn into a sedentary lifestyle.^

    Go and visit our own blog site too
    http://www.healthmedicinelab.com/uti-treatment/

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Are you an Abusive Parent? « The Epigenetics Project Blog - July 22, 2011

    […] Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Children? (skinnypinkninja.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Children? (via The Skinny Pink Ninja) | Parents Rights Blog - August 11, 2011

    […] ABC News: Should Parents Lose Custody of Obese Children? 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 … Read More […]

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