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Does The Government Have The Right To Take Away Your Child If He or She Is Obese?

Wed, July 13, 2011 5:44pm EDT by 6 Comments

Highly distinguished doctors and specialists are saying that parents deserve to lose custody of their child if he or she is obese — do you agree?

In a recent opinion article in the Journal of the American Media Association, doctors are criticizing parents of overweight and extremely obese children, pleading that the government has the right to take said children away from their parents. 

Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, believes that this is not to punish the parents, but rather for the best interests of the kids. “[State intervention] ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting,” he tells NPR.

But some professionals, like University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Art Caplan, feel that this is an issue far beyond parents’ reach. “Obese children are victims of advertising, marketing, peer pressure and bullying — things a parent can’t control,” he proclaimed.

Children in the United States are quickly becoming at risk for obesity. Currently, two million U.S. children are extremely obese, as most of them are susceptible for obesity-related diseases and conditions — such as Type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties and liver problems.

There have already been some cases where parents were forced to lose custody due to their child being severly overweight. Last year, Dr. Ludwig examined a 12-year-old girl who weighed 400 pounds and had developed diabetes, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. The girl was placed in foster care, fed three balanced meals a day, and was given physical activity.  After a year, she lost 130 pounds, and her apnea and diabetes were cured.

Although the results don’t lie, do you HollyMoms think its right for the state to take your child away from you if he or she is obese?

— Michael Emer