Should fat children be taken into care?

Sep 25 • Featured • 757 Views • 8 Comments on Should fat children be taken into care?

Thanks to Sir Jamie O, there's still a lot of emphasis on encouraging kids to eat healthily at the moment, and rightly so. But I can't help wondering if it's all gone a bit Big Brother if fat children are being taken away from their families and put into care.

The decision to place two children from this particular family into care was made when it emerged that one of the children, aged three, weighed 4st while another, aged 12, weighed 16st. (It is the three-year-old and a four-year-old who have been taken into care, leaving the mother – who is pregnant – bereft.)

To be honest, I can think of quite a few families where the children are slightly on the heavy side and could do with a few less snacks and a lot more exercise. Does that make them 'bad' parents? Of course not.

While I agree that feeding your child an endless diet of snacks and junk food is irresponsible, I'm not sure it's actually neglect. What do you think?

written by Liz Jarvis

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8 Responses to Should fat children be taken into care?

  1. Linda says:

    No they should not. These people need support and compassion. This is heartbreaking! Have just read the report where the solicitor says the children are well loved and looked after, not neglected. I spoke to nutritionists and other experts when I wrote about childhood obesity for Sweet magazine and they all said that children and parents need to build better attitudes to food and understand more about what and why they eat. As a "recovering" binge eater I am really upset by this story. Of course the children should be more healthy and I would say some overweight children may be neglected but it certainly doesn’t sound the case in this family. Good luck to them! Here’ s my piece on childhood obesity if you want to have a look: http://www.howdidigetthisfat.com/2009/03/childhood-obesity-too-much-too-young.html

  2. Bev says:

    How can they justify this – surely educating the parents would be better; the children would be traumatised being taken away from their parents. It would be better and surely more cost effective in the long run in the government could provide education on nutrition and simple cooking for parents. I’m sure there would be a great many parents who this would help.

  3. sam says:

    The whole family needs support and guidance – not punishment verging on abuse…

  4. samantha says:

    I think babies are being born bigger – both my boys looked like 3 month olds when they were first born. I think like the other comments here that the parents need educating, why take a child away from what it’s always known when you can educate at home?! My oldest is now very slim & my youngest still looks like a mitchelin man! The more active they become the more they slim down as toddlers & then it’s knowing whats best to feed them to keep their energy levels high.

  5. Very Bored Housewife says:

    Whilst I think that taking children into care is the absolutely extreme and probably not very helpful, I can’t help but think that these parents do know what they are doing. They know the difference between healthy food and junk food and they also know the difference between a normal weight child and an obese one. People have to take responsibility for their actions. Setting your child up for a lifetime of health problems is wrong, no excuses! If the same parents allowed their offspring to smoke or drink alcohol at an early age then somebody would intervene so why not with food?

  6. Tracey says:

    To be fair the only reason the kids eat the rubbish is because the parents give it to them!! so who is to blame??? THE PARENTS!!!!! everyone knows what you should eat and how much I don’t believe that ignorance is the problem, what the problem is, is LAZYNESS!! Parents saying they can’t afford to buy healthy food is ridiculous, they can afford to drink, smoke and buy endless takeaways but they can’t afford to buy (or grow themselves) veggies and fruit! Yes it is a form of child abuse as if the parents can’t be bothered to look after their kids properly then don’t have children!!

  7. Nicola says:

    But it is a bit harsh to take them into care isn’t it? Poor kids and poor parents. Fresh fruit and veg is more expensive than other food. We are, what I would say, are an average family on an average income and we struggle every month to buy any food, let alone healthy food! We don’t smoke, only have an odd drink now and then and certainly do not live on take aways but it is still a struggle. My childrens health and well being will always come first and there is always fresh fruit and veg for them in the house but I can understand how some people cannot always afford to buy fresh food, certainly with the way things are at the moment. I am not saying they are right to let their children get to that weight but as others have said, help and guidance are what’s needed, not having them taken away! There are parents out there who do far worse things to their children…..

  8. Nicola says:

    And isn’t the issue just as much, if not more, the fact of less exercise? Without wishing to make myself out to be a perfect parent – as I am certainly not! – I am often shocked by the amount of tv my daughters friends watch. My children have the tv on to watch a particular thing rather than it being on all the time. During the week they probably watch an hour of tv at most in a day. They would both rather be out in the garden or in the park than sitting watching tv. This will change as the nights get colder and darker but they will still play around the house (and drive me bonkers in the process) rather than watch tv. I am sure this is because we have always made tv a treat rather than the norm. Of course we have days where the tv is on more often than not but that is not a frequent occurence. Kids need to do more physically to help get the weight off. As Samantha said, they are bigger as toddlers and should slim down the more active they get

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