Should Severely Obese Children Be Taken From Their Parents?

July 14, 2011  |  

This story needs some commentary from the parents out there. I’m sure you all know obesity in America is an epic problem, especially since people keep claiming it’s a massive one in the African-American community for adults and our children. Many a study has been done on the topic as a whole, and First Lady Michelle Obama has made it her mission to bring to light the issue of childhood obesity with her “Let’s Move!” campaign. It’s safe to say that strides have been made better inform the public and to help curb this problem.

But maybe that’s not enough.

Two Harvard researchers came together in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Wednesday to say that parents of severely obese children should temporarily lose custody for not doing enough to help control their child’s weight. The authors, Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Lindsey Murtagh, both feel that state care, only in the most extreme cases and as a very last resort can help. Before such measures would be taken though, their objective would be to have nutritional specialists available to offer instruction for parents in the home on how to better deal with the cravings and eating habits of their kids. If things didn’t get better after that, then the state would intervene to remove the children from the home to better monitor their health. But Ludwig says they wouldn’t keep the child out of the home permanently. The scholars believe this temporary option would be much better than the child having to undergo dangerous weight loss surgery if there weight ballooned in the future. According to Murtagh:

“Despite the discomfort posed by state intervention, it may sometimes be necessary to protect a child,” Murtagh said.

This idea has received a lot of backlash from critics and other experts informed on childhood obesity. They believe the idea makes a villain of the parent(s), and that it’s better for the child to get help with their health while in the home with people they trust. Bring someone into the home to help they say, don’t take the kid out. But once again, this is their commentary on the issue of childhood obesity, not a plan ready to be enacted.

To read more about the situation and hear the idea straight out of Dr. Ludwig’s mouth, make a b-line to ABC News.

What do you think? Should kids be put into foster care to get help in extreme cases of obesity?


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