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Heather Fincher EIP Fast Draft English 1103 October 1, 2013

Children in an Obese America

Every day hundreds, even thousands, of problems are faced and debated by Americans. In this way, many of them get resolved, and if not resolved then at least recognized. For my extended inquiry project I chose the topic of whether or not morbidly obese children should be taken away from their parents. I was first introduced to this topic in my LBST class and it sparked my interests. It is of major importance to me because it is an exponentially growing problem in the United States that demands the publics attention. According to KidsHealth, one in every three kids is considered obese. Childhood obesity is the result of many varying factors including lack of exercise, poor diet, genetics, and laziness. Experts define morbid obesity as having a body mass index (BMI) at or greater than the 95th percentile. Throughout the course of this assignment I will be examining how morbid obesity in America has made its way to children, and the actions that should be taken to resolve the problem. For obese children, weight loss surgery is not an option. It is therefore essential that sensible diet and exercise routines are established as early as possible, and that the entire family embraces a new, healthier lifestyle. In this way the threat of early death or a harder lifestyle may be reduced. According to the CDC obese children face greater risk factors associated with cardiovascular heart disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. They are also at

greater risk of bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem. As stated before, there are many factors associated with childhood obesity. According to medicine, most obesity is caused by excessive daily caloric intake relative to daily caloric expenditure. In other words, an individual who is consuming more calories than they are burning, resulting in the build-up of unused calories that turn into fat. Unfortunately, due to this extremely thin line, the problem goes unnoticed. Because this topic is dealing with children and personal values, it is very controversial. Some people believe that parents should be held responsible for their childs weight, and others do not. Going alongside this, some people believe that drastic actions should be taken against the parents if their child reaches the level of morbid obesity, and others do not. People involved in these debates are parents of children, peace activists, members of Social Services, doctors, pediatricians, and national news coverage shows. There are many pro and anti-sides to the debate. Some points mentioned by various supporters are that children cannot speak for themselves; parents are not capable of taking care of their child if they reach that extreme, and it is just another form of neglect that cannot be overlooked. Relative to this, there was a South Carolina case of a young boy who was removed from his parents by social services. Alexander Draper was taken away from his home in June and his mother arrested on a charge of criminal neglect after the 14 year old reached a shocking 555 pounds. Authorities in South Carolina say that what went wrong was Gray's care and feeding of her son. The case attracted national attention, and along with concerned parents and healthcare providers, urged the CDC to announce the rise of childhood obesity. Many supporters of the notion that obese children should be removed from their homes say that if a parent is incapable of taking care of their child and

letting them reach the point of morbid obesity, they should not be that childs caretaker. Many say that it is just as much a form of neglect as is not feeding them at all. People against the notion say that obesity in children is a problem that needs parental support and it is too drastic of an alternative. Some people believe that parents should always be in a childs life no matter the reason. One idea is that a bond with a parent is the strongest connection humans have, and a better idea would be mandatory counseling for parents and children if the child's body mass index gets above an established threshold. This step would be mandatory for the parent, and if things did not improve then the loss of the child could be a result. So the question of importance is should morbidly obese children be removed from their parents? I myself believe that if a child reaches a certain level of obesity, actions should be taken whether it be to take the child away or just change how they eat. I can also relate to this subject in a certain sense because I, too, was overweight as a child. I was not as obese as the children I am talking about, but I can sympathize with them and what they are experiencing. I have a basic understanding of the types of children that are affected, how much weight they can amount to, and a layered level of steps that should be taken to fix the problem. Surprisingly, according to the CDC, the children most at risk for morbid obesity are kids that live in high-income residential neighborhoods who have various types of food to choose from. Other children affected are ones who live in food deserts (areas where good quality food is not available for miles), and children that come from single parent households (CDC). Weights have been recorded to reach the mid500s, although for the purpose of this paper the average is 300 to 375 pounds for all age groups. So far, awareness has been raised on the issue, but sometimes that is not always enough. Even though it may be a controversial issue that requires in depth research and knowledge, I am convinced that I know enough to say that I believe morbidly obese children

should be taken away from their parents. If a child reaches a weight capacity of 300 or more pounds, it can only negatively affect the childs life. Not only does it affect their health, it causes mental issues and physical complications. Morbidly obese children most often than not do not live the average lifespan of other people, and face challenges every day that should not be an issue, such as showering, getting from place to place, holding down a job, and even tying their shoes. I believe that the childs best interests should be kept in mind, and after every other option has been exhausted if it is the only option left, it should be utilized. Although it seems like an extreme choice, Americas childhood obesity scale is only growing larger and larger every year. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and if one things works even if it may not be the most humane thing to do who is to say otherwise and risk a childs life?

Works Cited

"A Look Inside Food Deserts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention., 24 Sept. 2012. W eb. 05 Nov. 2013. Elinor. "Obesity ." Obesity. NHS Choices, 5 Mar. 2012. Web. 30 Sept. 2013. Fernandes, Deepa. "Childhood Obesity: Scientists Explore Pollution and Sleep as Possible Causes." KPCC. 89.3 KPCC, 5 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. Johnson, Lauren K. "Orange County Criminal Attorneys Blog." September 2011 Archives:. Lauren K. Johnson, 1 Jan. 2011. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. Murtagh, Lindsey. "LexisNexis Litigation Essentials LexisNexis Litigation Essentials. Lindsey Murtagh, 10 Oct. 2008. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. Samakow, Jessica. "'Severe Obesity' In Children And Teens On The Rise In The U.S." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 09 Sept. 2013. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. "Should Morbidly Obese Children Be Removed From Their Parents Custody? [POLL]." NewsTalk 790 KFYO. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013. "The Mommy Files." The Mommy Files. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.