Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Government's New Weight-Loss Plan

I have been going nuts this week thinking about this subject.  Here is an excerpt from a Washington Times article:

WASHINGTON, DC, July 20, 2011 — Controversy erupted this week over the article State Intervention in Life-Threatening Childhood Obesity published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The article, written by Harvard childhood obesity expert David Ludwig, MD, PhD and Lindsey Murtagh, JD, MPH, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard's School of Public Health, suggests that the government intervene and take over custody of obese children.  
Huh?  So, the government, the same guys that run things down at the DMV can do a better job with the kids than their parents?  Oh so many questions...First of all, What constitutes as severely obese?  The examples used in the JAMA article were of a 555 lb. 14-year-old and a 440 lb. 16-year-old.  These are examples of kids that have already been taken from their parents.  What happens if these kids fail to lose weight in a foster home?  Will they blame the foster parents?

I'm certainly not saying that the parents of such severely obese children are faultless--that would be impossible.  But there are other factors that influence what kids choose to eat and how physically active (or inactive) they are.  According to a Yahoo News articleUniversity of Pennsylvania bioethicist Art Caplan thinks that more criticism should be placed on advertising, marketing, peer pressure and bullying--all things that parents have no control over.  

Think of the implications of placing a child in foster care--taking the child out of their home, away from their parents.  These actions could cause serious emotional trauma to any child, especially an overweight child already prone to low self-esteem and depression.  

Is childhood obesity a form of child abuse?  Is it the government's place to step into a potentially otherwise loving family to "fix" them?  Is the family to blame for obesity in such a way that the child should be actually removed from the home?  Should other measures be taken to train and equip the families about better nutrition and exercise?  I would love to hear your thoughts on this!


  1. WOW! Going to have to think about this one some more. Initial thoughts: Parents of severely obese children should be held to some type of accountability. Obseity does kill and cause all sorts of other issues throughout life (many of which you and I will eventually be paying for) Obesity can be cured and most importantly it can be avoided! I feel like these children do need an advocate of some sort. And education never hurts. As with most things in life though, there is not a "one size fits all" answer to this problem.

  2. I agree, Keelie. The kids need to have an advocate, I'm just not so sure that the government removing them from the home is the best answer. It's a complex issue for sure!

  3. This is what I think...the government wants children to be obese. The FDA should NOT give the "OK" on all the process foods if that was not the case!!! Oh, girl...I could go-on and on about this one. The definition of government, as I teach it, is to Keep order and Establish justice; I am the government in my house-step out of my house Washington and get your own House of Congress in order. :)

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