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Childhood Obesity and Foster Care

Should Obese Children Be Removed From Their Parents?

Authorities remove tots from homes where drugs and alcohol are readily available, but should the same rules apply when excessive junk food is present and the parents fail to "model a physically active lifestyle"?

One of the nation's leading experts on pediatric obesity thinks so. In an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, David Ludwig suggests that extremely obese kids should be removed from their parents' homes and placed in foster care where they will receive healthy meals and better guidance in making lifestyle choices. According to the doctor, his foster care solution isn't intended to blame parents, but to temporarily place children in a healthier environment that will better prepare them for the rest of their lives.

Would you support such drastic moves to improve the health of our children?

Image Source: Getty
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amandachalynn amandachalynn 5 years
The difference in removing a child suffering from malnutrition is that the child is being intentionally neglected. These parents are not literally forcing food into the child's mouth. Personally I hate it when people say it's abuse because I'm sure being able to eat nothing but Doritos or fast food would have been much better than my father hitting me with lamps, fists and tree branches and telling me I was a whore when I started my period. At least these kids for the most part feel loved by their parents. Calling obesity abuse is very offensive to me. I would have gladly traded being fat to not be beaten.
annabelleb annabelleb 5 years
I think in extreme cases this would be a good idea. It's not about government trying to control, it's about taking an innocent kid out of an abusive and dangerous situation. I am an American living in Paris and I have to say as a country we are so screwed up with eating and nutrition. This country provides organic food with three courses at lunch in public school which starts at age 3. I have not seen a single fat kid, not one. Here, it is ok to tell someone they are fat and they need to lose weight. It is not perfect, but it shouldn't be a taboo subject.
bisou002 bisou002 5 years
I think the child's pediatrician would end up having to play a large role in deciding whether or not the authorities need to intervene. After testing to be sure the obesity wasn't cause by a genetic issue, I'd think it'd be the duty of the doctor to report on a child's health. Also, the doctor would be exposed to the parents (most likely) and could talk to them about their state of health. I think back to when I was a kid - I was always a little peanut. But my brother, who was brought up the exact same way I was and fed the same foods, ended up being chubby from around ages 8-14. Then he got his growth spurt and now at 23, you'd never know he was ever on the plump side. But my mom told me that she remembered his pediatrician asking her what he was eating and she was at such a loss and was so upset - he was active, played basketball, but just had a fat stage. I don't know, it's such a sensitive topic. :-/
kmckay kmckay 5 years
I don't like the "big brother" implication here but I am conflicted. I feel that obesity and providing unhealthy food (almost exclusively) is abuse also. However, it seems like it would make more sense to have mandated nutrition and childhood development courses for parents who are found to be 'inadequate' providers for their children. There would need to be free childcare offered during the course time and then parents would be on a probation of sorts for 12-18mos afterwards.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 5 years
I would say educate the parents first, get the kid tested for genetic issues that might cause obesity (prader-willi for example) If the kid is healthy, and its just the parents not feeding them correctly than the authorities must intervene. Obese children cost the state millions of dollars over a lifetime.
jen49 jen49 5 years
usually i think that the government should stay out more and let parents go back to being parents. But when you have a 3 year old weighing 90 lbs, and the same girl weighing 400 lbs at 12 something has to be done. The parents were sent to classes to get an education on what foods to have around the house, and told to get her out playing. It seems some parents go the easy way for them by always picking up fast food on the way home, and setting their kids in front of a tv instead of taking them outside to play.
rocchiroad rocchiroad 5 years
This whole "we are the government and we will tell you how to eat" is getting so out of control! You let them do this, and what is next? Will they start telling us how to dress? Will they start telling us who our friends should be? Will they start telling us ?? It's none of the governments business if we have fat, skinny, pimpled, loud, annoying, funny, lovely children! They are our children NOT theirs.
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 5 years
If you take the kids away from the parents there is a good chance they will end up developing additional problems from being placed in foster care. Also, what guarantee do they have that the foster parents would promote better eating habits?
ilanac13 ilanac13 5 years
wow - that's almost like saying that it's child endangerment - but that's not always the case. i think that there's an education factor there that might need to be brought into play - but to take a child away from their parents - that's just extreme.
amber512 amber512 5 years
I can see it in an extreme case, but it sets sort of a scary precedent.
Natasha-Dantzig Natasha-Dantzig 5 years
Good point bisou002. I have to agree, but as a last resort. I would hope that authorities would try to educate the families first, and let them try to make changes on their own.
bisou002 bisou002 5 years
The authorities would remove a starving child, so why not a morbidly obese one?
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