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Should Morbidly Obese Children be Taken Away from their Parents?

Heather Fincher English 1103 10/21/2013

Why is awareness so important?

Just a little to start you off with:

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat According to NHANES 20092010, about 1 in 6 American children ages 219 are obese The survey also suggests that overweight and obesity are having a greater effect on minority groups, including Blacks and Hispanics.


Immediate health effects:

Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.

Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem

Long-term health effects:

Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults, and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkins lymphoma (CDC)


Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries. Schools play a critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors


Now Lets Put it in Perspective

An Ohio third-grader who weighs more than 200 pounds has been taken from his family and placed into foster care after county social workers said his mother wasnt doing enough to control his weight. The Plain Dealer reports that the Cleveland 8-year-old is considered severely obese and at risk for such diseases as diabetes and hypertension. The case is the first state officials can recall of a child being put in foster care strictly for a weight-related issue. Lawyers for the mother say the county overreached when authorities took the boy last week. They say the medical problems he is at risk for do not yet pose an imminent danger. A spokeswoman says the county removed the child because caseworkers saw his mothers inability to reduce his weight as medical neglect.

(Should Morbidly)

The question here is Should they be taken away?

What do people think about this?

KFYO, a NewsTalk radio station on 790 AM hosted a poll asking people whether or not they believe obese children should be removed from their parents custody. As childhood obesity continues to be a problem, this issue could pop-up around the country. Should the state step-in because of a childs weight? At what point should officials move in?

The poll results are as follows:

Yes, if they feel they need to Yes, but only as a last resort No Not sure 16.46% 34.18% 45.57% 4%

(Should Morbidly Obese)

Thats much too extreme of an option.

Obesity in children is a problem that needs parental support.

Obesity stems from several avenues and not just overeating. Regardless of the cause of a child being obese, they should never be taken away from their parents for this reason. Some people eat when they are depressed and what can be more depressing for a child than to be torn away from their loved ones? So, this would only make the child's situation worse. Proper education on eating healthy and exercise should be an option for the family to try. If that doesn't solve the problem, then let the family love each other for who they are, fat and all! Patricia Higgs (Should Obese)

Doesn't Make Sense

How can anyone justify that a child can be taken away from their parents just because they are obese? I get that the idea here is if the parent is over-feeding the child, but there would be no "fool-proof" way to prove that even if it was justifiable. Some children are heavy because of glandular issues or genetic makeup. This is as ridiculous of an argument as saying that a white child should be taken away from his adoptive black parents because they are different races. -Kyle White (Should Obese)

The individuals make many good points in their arguments. How do we draw the line to what is considered morbidly obese, and who are we to dictate how someone should raise their child? Maybe that child has preexisting conditions not known, or maybe the parents cannot afford healthy food. There is no way to know the complete story behind a familys life. But are these reasons enough to keep a child in a dangerous situation? Is it worth a childs life to maintain the social stigma that a child is to stay with their parents no matter what?

But on the other hand

In severe instances of childhood obesity, removal from the home may be justifiable from a legal standpoint because of imminent health risks and the parents chronic failure to address medical problems, Dr. Ludwig of Childrens Hospital Boston argued.

The state intervenes when a child is underfed and severely malnourished and so Dr. Ludwig argued that they should be able to do the same thing when a kid is overfed and severely obese. (Mommy Files)

theyre the ones who can decide whether to fill the fridge with healthy food, put vegetables on the dinner table, and suggest a piece of fruit for a snack. Theyre the ones who drive their young kids to their soccer games and encourage their children to turn off the television and play outside. And what should happen when parents fail at their job? (Mommy Files)

The doctor makes good points raised good questions childhood obesity is extremely dangerous. The statistics and facts speak for themselves. These sources all relate to my topic because this subject is a debate that is becoming more and more relevant in todays society. As more and more people are educated on childhood obesity and actions taken to resolve it, they have many varying opinions on how the problem should be handled. The debate is still ongoing and is only in its baby steps, so as more days pass and more awareness is raised there will be many more headlines on the topic.

Doing this research raised many questions for me. What does Social Services (SS) consider morbidly obese and how do they know when to intervene? What steps can parents take to get their child back, or is that even an option? How does SS decide who to send the child to? Is the child required to go though any type of rehab or weight loss camp? I also believe that SS has every right to remove a child from parental custody if the parent proves to be incapable of supporting that child. Making a child suffer for a parents incapability isnt fair.

Works Cited

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 July 2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. "The Mommy Files." The Mommy Files. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. "Should Morbidly Obese Children Be Removed From Their Parents Custody? [POLL]." NewsTalk 790 KFYO. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. "Should Obese Children Be Taken Away from Their Parents?" The Premier Online Debate Website. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. "Who Is at Risk for Overweight and Obesity?" - NHLBI, NIH. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013.