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Too Fat to Father? Authorities Tell Obese Man He Can't Adopt

Too Fat to Father? Authorities Tell Obese Man He Can't Adopt

Fearing that wannabe father Damien Hall might die due to his 340 lb. weight, Leeds City Council has declared him and his wife ineligible to adopt a child. Officials told the UK couple, who cannot have children naturally, that they might be considered after Damien gets his BMI down from 42 to below 40.

While responsible adoption officials should consider the lifestyle choices of would-be parents, I wouldn't blame this couple for feeling like victims of discrimination. Do you think officials should consider the weight of a potential adoptive parent? Do you think an extremely underweight person would be excluded, too?


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Isista Isista 8 years
I understand the fact that they want children with healthy parents to raise them well. But I agree with others: shouldn't those who smoke or have smoked (possibility for relapse) not be eligible to adopt? What about those who drink? At some point they could become alcoholics. I do like that they take careful precautions when screening for possible parents, but taking only his BMI and NOT his overall health into consideration seems like a failure on their part.
Fribble Fribble 8 years
This is just ridiculous. First of all, the BMI index is seriously crap. It does not factor in bone density, where the fat is/what kind of fat it is, metabolic rate, overall health, and so many other factors. It's just height and weight. Nothing else. People are not equations, damn it, and the BMI index is about as helpful to real people as D&D combat tables are to real tactics. I appreciate what they're trying to do, here, but a BMI index is not the way to go about it.
shydcgirl28 shydcgirl28 8 years
Way to go! I would like to point out that fat people are the last official group that it's okay to discriminate against! Woo hoo! This story is crap and so are the reasons behind the decision, there are plenty of fat biological parents out here. Are we now going to start taking their children from them?? Saying that this man in unfit due to weight is yet another blow for a couple who likely has much love to offer a child. Boooo!!
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
I agree Jude. I was just making a broad statement about the pc police in general and what is acceptable and what isn't.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"The overweight and the elderly are apparently completely acceptable forms of discrimination." As far as the topic under discussion goes, I have to say that I think that's an oversimplification. There are very valid, documentable, health-related reasons why some adoption agencies may choose not to consider the obese or elderly or otherwise more-likely-to-die-sooner people eligible for adoption. The same can't be said for, say, discrimination against a certain ethnicity or sexual orientation.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Excellent point
stephley stephley 8 years
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
The overweight and the elderly are apparently completely acceptable forms of discrimination.
emily_88_88 emily_88_88 8 years
He needs to lose 10 pounds. If he's serious about the long-term well-being of his hopefully future child, he would get into gear and lose 10 pounds. Also, about smoking, lots of people quit for their kids. People should do everything they can to decrease their risks of dying early, and losing weight and quitting smoking are things people can absolutely do, unlike type 1 diabetes and other diseases that you're born with- although, placing a child in a home with a high chance of the parent dying early in life is obviously a traumatic and hopefully avoidable situation.
sugarbean sugarbean 8 years
There was a similar case in Mississippi (I believe... ) in the last year or two... A couple had adopted the child of a relative who did not or could not have custody. Same relative had another child, same couple took legal custody. The state then removed the infant from the couple's custody because of the husband's obesity. The details of *why* they removed the child have not been confirmed (family court -- sealed) but the case generated similar debate and outrage. Ultimately, the guy raised enough money (a fair amount of it from donations, actually) had surgery, lost the weight and was able to regain custody of the kid and adopt him/her. Along with the health and mortality of the adoptive parent being a concern, the courts consider the diet and the environment. If the man is unable to lead an active lifestyle and be mobile enough to take care of the kid and play outside and stuff... that has to be considered. There have also, apparently, been some cases with older kids who are adopted and end up being the caretaker (not necessarily because the adoptive parent forces it -- but the kids felt like it was what they needed/should do as a 'thank you')
psterling psterling 8 years
there are so many ways people can die, this is just absurd. Should smokers be inelligible too?
kastarte2 kastarte2 8 years
Well, egg buyers spend thousands and thousands of dollars for just a few eggs so they should expect "good" genes ie no cancer or diabetes ect. I think the agency clearly had the best interest of the child at heart. I really don't see any problems with this. If he is thinking of having children, he should be trying to better his health for their sake anyway. I have heard of many people, men and women who quit smoking because they are expecting a child. I think trying to resolve a weight issue is just as important. There is no second hand smoke involved in obesity, obviously, but a child could pick up eating habits that effect their health for their entire lives.
foxie foxie 8 years
"Have you ever looked at a website for egg donation? Their guidelines are even worse." - worse + better
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
I would understand their outrage if this were a matter of being 25-75ls overweight...even 100 if he were a tall man, but this isn't discrimination based on vanity, this is assessing someone's health in their probability to be a parent. I won't echo what Jude and Stephley have said because I'm in complete agreement. "This is discrimination period point blank. I know that obesity it unhealthy, but really nobodies future is known very outwardly "healthy" people drop dead all the time." I hate arguments like this. You can never be sure you aren't giving a child to would be pedophiles, but you can run background checks, inspect their homes, and talk to their loved ones. You can never be sure of anything, but the point of applying to anything, be it a job or adoption, is to screen out people who have a higher chance for failure. It's all probability and this agency is being fair in looking out for the best interest of the children. Also this isn't complete rejection, they've told him health wise what he needs to do to become eligible. If they really want to adopt they'll make health their new household priority.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
It really depends. Some people are so overweight they can't take care of themselves, let alone a kid but we don't know that that's this man's case and if you can give a kid a good parent then why not
Roarman Roarman 8 years
I understand where they are coming from. Obviously they don't want to allow someone to adopt who may die soon after. Alos, if he isn't able to keep himself healthy, why should they assume he will keep the child healthy?
starangel82 starangel82 8 years
There are certain adoption agencies (and countries) that require an adoptive parent to be in good health. Some even go so far as to say what BMI you must have and what diseases you can/cannot have or have in your family history. While I can understand the precaution some of these agencies are taking, I think some take them too far. Just because a certain disease is in your family history does not guarantee you will get the disease. But I think all the guidelines are to make sure someone won't adopt a kid and then fall over dead. Have you ever looked at a website for egg donation? Their guidelines are even worse... they want your height, weight, etc to be a certain thing. Your IQ to be at a certain level. Some go so far as to say you have to have certain features. But I guess if you are buying an egg, you might as well get what you want.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
No, I agree there. And obesity in Britain is a big problem.
foxie foxie 8 years
Sensitivity I understand... just not denial.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Well, there's a lot of understandable sensitivity around the subject, and it's not as cut-and-dried as other issues, unfortunately.
foxie foxie 8 years
That's a very legitimate problem to consider, Jude. I don't think most people view obesity as a very serious problem even though it clearly is.
Angela123 Angela123 8 years
I completely agree with the agency. And no, I do not think WEIGHT should be an issue when a couple tries to adopt. But certainly HEALTH is an issue, and obesity very directly and majorly affects one's health.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Let's not forget that, according to the Stanford University School of Medicine, "64 percent of children with overweight parents became overweight, compared with 16 percent of those with normal-weight parents...a finding that confirms previous observations" ( It's not just genetics, either; other studies have shown that environment plays an equal role in determining childhood obesity.
Myst Myst 8 years
I definitely think that the agency is in the right in this one. Of course people should be able to adopt a child, but have a parent who's obese which greatly reduces his life expectancy isn't fair to an adoptee either.
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