If we don't know by now that obesity in childhood is a problem, then we've really been hiding under that proverbial rock.
But more and more people believe that very obese youngsters are falling into the category of abused/neglected children.
A couple in Scotland have lost custody of two of their children for numerous reasons but one was ignoring warnings from social services to reduce their children's food intake and get their weight down.
Here in America, over-weight children are also facing the threat of removal (some have already been removed) from their parents when parents refuse to curtail their children's eating to such an extent that their young children (under the age of ten) are weighing upwards of 200 lbs. Some parents, heavily over-weight themselves, do not acknowledge a problem or claim their child's obesity (no matter how dramatic) is simply "puppy fat" that they'll grow out of.
Heavily over-weight kids are now facing issues that were once the domain of adults. They are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, some as early as age ten or eleven. And most of these children return to a healthy state once their excess weight is lost.
About one in five children are obese in America and according to the Surgeon General's office, about two out of every three adults is classed as over-weight or obese. The odds of an over-weight child becoming an over-weight adult are high. Getting children to a healthy weight now, will give them a fighting chance of becoming a healthy adult later.
There is also a problem on a social level. Many of these children come from poor backgrounds, with little access to parks or playgrounds and this lack of exercise, combined with cheap, unhealthy foods, paves the way for an over-weight child. They may come from single parent homes where no-one is home to monitor their eating habits or the parent over-compensates for time away, with food.
The chairman of Britain's Child Growth Foundation, Tam Fry, is attempting to make over-feeding a child a legally recognized form of child abuse in the UK. So far, he has not succeeded but is not giving up on the issue. He believes severely over-weight children should be removed from the home until the child and parents are educated in the area of exercise and nutrition. Once authorities are satisfied that the home will be a healthier place for the child and the over-feeding will stop, parents will regain custody.
Other professionals believe that removing a dangerously obese child is wrong on any level, and will hurt the child more than help him/her. They believe instead that education in exercise and nutrition alone should suffice.
The people who disagree with this mindset liken it to under-feeding a child. They argue that since severely malnourished children would be removed with no question, the same should be done for severely over-nourished children who can face health consequences that can be just as serious.
Do you think severely over-fed children should be removed from their homes, the same way severely under-fed children are? Or do you think this is an intrusion on parental rights?
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