I read an article on CBSnews.com about an obese child who was taken from their parents. He was the youngest child in the U.K. to have ever been taken away from their parents for obesity concerns. A spokesperson from the Tameside council said, “Parents should be supported to address their child’s obesity, and social workers should only act if parents fail to engage with the proposed plan to improve their child’s safety and well-being.”
In 2007, more than 15 children were taken from their parents because of obesity concerns in the U.K. In Ohio a 200 pound 8 year old was taken from his parents by social workers. The boy’s mother is recorded saying that just because her son is over weight, that does not mean she does not love him and that she is not a fit mother. She has a point, the social workers have no idea how this mother parents her child. Could this child just be genetically obese?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seventeen percent of adolescents in the United States are clinically obese. Obese children are categorized as ones who are above the 95th percentile for weight in their age group and gender. Over 2 million children in the United States are over the 99th percentiles.
Dr. Arthur Caplan, professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania says that foster care is not the cure for childhood obesity. He thinks that a child should only be taken from their parent if their life is being threatened. He even said that he finds it hard to imagine that obesity can threaten a child’s life. How does obesity threaten an adults life? The same way it can threaten a small child’s; heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and the list goes on. I do agree with Dr. Caplan when he says that in order to fix childhood obesity we should not be taking the child away from the problem through foster care, but we should fix the problem within the home.
Many childhood obesity problems are not only because the parent is over feeding the child. The child could be depressed or they could be experiencing other problems within the family or with friends. If we take the child away from where they are comfortable, we could be creating bigger problems with foster care. These types are decisions are so hard to make in today’s world. The questions of ethics and moral codes are over whelming. No one can be told how to parent their children, but when a parent is taught how to properly feed and nourish them I feel that great benefits will be exemplified.