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Agree or Disagree: Obese Kids Should Be Taken From Parents

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Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:12 am
Nate says...

A Harvard Professor recently said that some parents should lose custody of their children if the child is obese. Just to be very clear, this is not under actual discussion in any government. This is just the opinion of one guy. But, it's certainly caused a stir.

ABC News
Childhood Obesity: A Call for Parents to Lose Custody

Harvard University child obesity expert Dr. David Ludwig's recent claim that some parents should lose custody of their severely obese children has sparked outrage among families and professionals across the country.

The national outcry led one family to share how its personal experience with the matter damaged their lives.

Ludwig, an obesity expert at Children's Hospital Boston and associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, shared his divisive idea in an opinion piece that ran in the Journal of the American Medical Association Wednesday: that state intervention can serve in the best interest of extremely obese children, of which there're about 2 million across the United States.

"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," Ludwig co-wrote with Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard's School of Public Health.

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Do you agree or disagree that obese kids should be taken from their parents?
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Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:59 am
OverEasy says...

For me, it's so difficult to say. Honestly, in so many situations it is the parents fault that their child is obese, whether it be by lack of action of lack of knowledge is difficult to say. However, these kids lives are at stake, and if removing them from their family will lessen the risk then it's hard to say that's a bad idea. Of course a lot of parents will argue that they have every right to raise their children however they choose, but I don't think that negates the fact that they are for the most part ignoring what is really a very serious medical condition. That alone is neglect.

Bleh. Too many variables to make a 100% decision one way or the other, in my opinion. I do, however, think that child obesity, and really obesity in general needs to be treated as an epidemic. The number one cause of death right now is Heart Disease (which is not always caused by obesity, but frequently is) and that statistic alone is very scary. I have personally encountered obesity in my family, my aunt at her largest weighed nearly 500 pounds. And she nearly died from it. It's certainly not something to take lightly, in my opinion. Whether that means we need to start taking children from their parents is another thing entirely... and it's a very sticky subject.

Now I am just rambling.
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Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:47 pm
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Kamas says...

That's a bunch of nonsense. Replace obesity with something like lack of knowledge because somehow, the environment the parents have provided caused a lack of:

i. education,
ii. proper learning environment.

Perhaps it's the parents' fault, but often there are a lot of factors influencing this fault. Perhaps they can't afford to feed their child the food recommended, or the time to cook proper meals because they're busy working a job to pay for the pizza their kid is eating. The way of thinking of Mr. Ludwig is something of a bandaid.

Fast food is far cheaper, and easier to access in less time then proper home cooked meals. That and people either don't know how to reading the nutrition information provided, or know what they need to be healthy (and more often then not people don't care). And all these foundations that advertise for healthy eating have become some form of elevator music or background noise, that you'll perhaps tune into for a few brief moments before tuning it out again.

Blaming the parents for the poor nourishment of their child is the easiest thing to do, but you have to think that overeating, or poor eating habits stems from many things. Whether is be financial strain or weaved in habits or lack of education on how to eat properly which is being nurtured into the child. And those eating habits might be aggravated from the loss of their family and maybe in some sudden restriction on their habits.

Harvard or not, this has to be one of the silliest arguments I've ever heard. Picking of the output isn't going to take down the whole system that's happening, it's never worked before and never will.
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Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:06 pm
Griffinkeeper says...

Childhood obesity should definitely not be taken lightly. ;)

Neither should removing a child from their parents. It makes sense to remove children from parents who are violent and abusive. After all, the kids would be in immediate danger. Obese kids, on the other hand, don't seem to be in an immediate danger. It's not like they become super huge overnight, there is plenty of time to recognize it in the kids themselves.

My ridiculous solution is that every house should be converted into a bounce house. This would guarantee that everyone got a proper work out each day.

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Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:51 pm
Attolia says...

Hahahah. A Harvard professor would suggest this. It is exactly that elitist mentality that common people can't take care of themselves and should not be allowed to try. Which is why on principle and politically I am 100% completely, completely against this.

It's completely antithetical to the theory of small government. However, ironically, the same reasons I favor small government force me to agree with the root of this guy's point. I believe that people can and should take care of themselves, and this extends to physical well-being. Personally, when I see a morbidly obese young child out in public with his/her parents, I think those parents should not be in charge of raising that child. What they're doing to that kid, sending them down that lifestyle, is just not right, because health is completely a choice. Being genetically heavyset and/or stocky is not a choice. Letting yourself becoming morbidly obese is. Raising your kids in such an unhealthy way that they become morbidly obese at a young age is absolutely heinous. But in a free society if that's how you're choosing to raise your kids, hell, it's none of my business, and it's definitely not the government's.
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Wed Jul 20, 2011 8:36 pm
Starrywolf says...

It's hard to decide.
Obese children are going to be bullied, if not in elementary school then definitely in high school. And if you were a business owner, would you hire an obese person or a person of proper weight?
These parents are setting their kids up for horrible eating habits, and possible failure in life because of it.
It is a HUGE health hazard to be obese, and parents that allow their kids to get that... big... probably shouldn't be allowed to have the child. If they work to much to have time to cook, then they probably don't have time to raise the child correctly anyway.
It's usually the thought that counts, but when it comes to raising children, it's a functional human being whose life these parents may have ruined.
But then again, the foster care in America (Not sure about other countries) is flawed; and most people seem to adopt from other countries instead.
The above poster stated that they believe that it's not the government's business. I disagree, mostly because this child will grow up to become an independent being. It's not like a cat, that lives in your house until it dies. It's a human being that will become part of society.
But of course, sometimes foster care can make things worse. And sometimes parents with obese kids have good intentions.
So, I find it hard to form a yes/no opinion on this. But I lean more towards yes.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:53 pm
GeeLyria says...

Wow. I think that'd be a really hard situation. For the parents, definitely, but especially for the kids.

I do understand that obesity is a common problem between kids nowadays. But people have to understand it is not necessarily the parents' fault, it's not even the kids' fault. Sometimes these highly intelligent people should forget about their science degrees to learn something knew; think about the psychology problems these so-call-solutions might provoke.

I don't think this would be wise. I roundly disagree. I think that'd be a really painful thing that no one should go through.

And I definitely think the human is capable of creating a better solution for the problem!
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Mon Aug 08, 2011 5:43 am
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inkwell says...

I think the debate stems from something more fundamental: What defines child abuse?

( ... define.pdf )

I personally think that obesity is not always something parents inflict on their children. Sometimes it's genetic, for instance.

But read this passage on neglect carefully:

Neglect is frequently defined as the failure of a parent or other
person with responsibility for the child to provide needed food,
clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree
that the child’s health, safety, and well-being are threatened
with harm.

So it would be negligent if the responsible person fails to provide "needed food" to "the degree that the child’s health, safety, and well-being are threatened with harm."

So I think this guy could make a case.
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Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:02 am
CardDragon says...

I say the children should been taken from the adults because they are allowing them to get sick and introducing them to a life of struggle except unless the child has some type of illness that makes them gain weight. I believe it would be beneficial to the life span of the child if they were taken from a person who is not taking care of them well ( by allowing them to be fat or eat too little). Then the child and the parents can be taught to eat healthy or in the parents case, to keep their children in shape and after this the child can return home. So I agree that obese children should be taken away from their parents/ legal guardians.
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