Sunday, July 7, 2013
State Intervention in Childhood Obesity
In October 2011, a morbidly obese 8-year old boy was taken from his home and placed into foster care. The young boy tipped the scales at over 200 pounds. According to court documents, the mother lost custody of her son because she failed to maintain a healthy living environment. Based on height and weight standards, an 8-year old should weigh approximately 60 pounds.
How fat is too fat? At what point is obesity considered an imminent health risk? Should obesity be considered neglect? Should the government step in to assist young children who are at grave risk for major health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and emotional stress? Have American politicians and the judicial system taken the 'nanny-state' concept too far?
The American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease last month (June 2013). Based on the AMA recognition of obesity as a disease, rather than a lifestyle choice, are we likely to witness an increase in the removal of obese children from the care of their own parents? What are the emotional repercussions on the children as well as the parents? Is the state over-reacting to the obesity epidemic? Or, is it about time that the courts stepped in to protect our most precious resources - the children. You make the call!!!