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Should Parents Lose Custody of Super Obese Kids?

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Old 07-13-2011, 12:16 PM   #1
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Default Should Parents Lose Custody of Super Obese Kids?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=137800137

Has anyone else read this article? I am very interested to see what other people think about the matter.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:32 PM   #2
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"Ludwig said he starting thinking about the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl came to his obesity clinic several years ago. Her parents had physical disabilities, little money and difficulty controlling her weight. Last year, at age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed diabetes, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

"Out of medical concern, the state placed this girl in foster care, where she simply received three balanced meals a day and a snack or two and moderate physical activity," he said. After a year, she lost 130 pounds. Though she is still obese, her diabetes and apnea disappeared; she remains in foster care, he said."

400 pounds at the age of 12 ?????!!!!! That's definitely parental neglect.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:40 PM   #3
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My cousin was overweight. She was also on welfare.

Being on welfare embarrassed her. She deliberately stuffed her kids with snacks and fattening foods because, she "didn't want anyone to think she was starving her kids."

All 3 of her kids became overweight. The oldest daughter weighed 300 pounds in the 8th grade.
I tried to tell her she was destroying her kids health and social life.
She would not listen.

Yes, I think her kids should have been taken away until counseling could straighten out her distorted thinking.

My cousin was the problem. She taught those kids really bad eating habits and ruined their childhood, just because of her crazy attitude. She wanted to surround herself with fatties to draw attention away from her fat self. She was embarrassed about her own overweight, but loved to overeat.

The kids would have been better off taken away for awhile, until she could correct her personal problems.

But she remarried when the oldest was 10. And she continued to stuff those kids...welfare or no welfare. It was sad.

When her daughter finally left home she was able to go on a diet. Her mom refused to allow any dieting while she lived at home as a teenager.
The daughter really resents her mom and rarely sees her.

Removing the kids from an abusive home like this would be a blessing for them.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:47 PM   #4
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I think super obese kids should definitely draw attention from the child protection agencies, but I don't know if simply being super obese as a child necessarily means that the parents are being abusive. Sometimes very loving parents who just don't know about proper nutrition or the health risks can raise a super obese child (and are likely obese themselves), and in that case instead of taking the child away maybe some kind of nutritional education could be provided. In situations like Jolina described though, it sounds like the obesity was the result of abuse, and in that case I would probably agree that the kids should be taken away.

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Old 07-13-2011, 12:51 PM   #5
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Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children's Hospital Boston, said the point isn't to blame parents, but rather to act in children's best interest and get them help that for whatever reason their parents can't provide.
This is what bothers me the most about the article. If the parents are not to blame then who? And, there is a broken system of care for all foster kids in the US, the last thing a super obese child or teen needs is to be put into the system when there are other approaches that can be taken that would probably be less expensive in the long run. Like funding summer camps for these kids to attend to learn new eating habits that they can take home and teach their families. No child should ever be removed from the love of their parents for something that is a disfunction of a larger problem. Cognitive behavioral therapy would work on these types of parents and kids, giving them the tools to change instead of a punishment to a child who does not deserve to be punished.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:55 PM   #6
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We don't live in a perfect world. I hear all the time that children should be taken away from their parents for one reason or another. And I often agree that what the parents are doing is awful, misguided, etc. But I think that except in cases of immediate danger, like physical abuse, or extreme neglect, staying with the parent is probably the better option for the child. I know there are a lot of good foster parents out there, but mostly you don't here stories about the wonderful experience kids had growing up in foster care. They often get bounced around, aren't well cared for, and completely abandoned when they hit 18.

One boy in the story went to live with an aunt, and I can see how, if an opportunity like that existed for a child, it might be the better option. But for most kids, they'll merely be taken out of a bad situation and put into a worse one.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:58 PM   #7
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I think it has to be decided on a case-by-case basis, because you can't assume it's always the parents fault, or even that the parents aren't doing everything possible to try to prevent it. My parents did, and I was still veyr fat.

I was a super obese child (overweight by kindergarten, and very obese by 4th grade). I weighed 190 lbs in sixth grade and 225 lb in 8th grade, and my parents did the best they could on a lower middle class income.

None of my siblings were overweight (my brother and I were adopted, and neither of us followed the weight pattern of our parents. My sisters did - both thin throughout childhood, one gaining weight in her late 20's like Mom, and one being naturally, effortlessly thin like Dad).

I was fat and my brother was underweight, and once a woman came up to my mom and started ranting at my mother for neglecting my brother and overfeeding me. She thought that my mom wasn't feeding my brother. While he was constantly being encouraged to eat, and I was constantly being told not to. She told my mom something to the effect that she should "stop feeding her, and start feeding him," and I started crying because I was hungry all the time as it is, and I was afraid that Mom would do what the lady said and stop feeding me at all. My brother ate all the time, huge amounts, but never gained weight because he had the metabolism and the activity level of a hummingbird.

My parents took us both to the doctor about our weight. At every checkup the doctor would say that my brother was healthy, and his weight on the low side, but perfectly healthy for his height.

I was put on diet after diet (with the doctor's approval). I was ravenously hungry all of the time, and I would sneek food.

My parents would have sent me to a "fat camp" if they could have afforded it.

Meals were healthy, if a little starch heavy. We always had two or more vegetables at every meal.

My parents were lucky though. We had medical insurance, two cars (even if one was a junker), kept a large garden, and Mom got her CNA license so she was taught about nutrition, and their income was sufficient for decent groceries. I was still fat. But if my parents had been less educated with less money and fewer resources, my situation could have been so much worse.

If the parents are ignoring and refusing the help offered by social services, that's one thing - if the resources aren't available, that's another.
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Old 07-13-2011, 12:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango30 View Post
This is what bothers me the most about the article. If the parents are not to blame then who? And, there is a broken system of care for all foster kids in the US, the last thing a super obese child or teen needs is to be put into the system when there are other approaches that can be taken that would probably be less expensive in the long run. Like funding summer camps for these kids to attend to learn new eating habits that they can take home and teach their families. No child should ever be removed from the love of their parents for something that is a disfunction of a larger problem. Cognitive behavioral therapy would work on these types of parents and kids, giving them the tools to change instead of a punishment to a child who does not deserve to be punished.
I agree with this approach. Merely taking the child out of that situation isn't a solution. But finding and (what it really comes down to) funding a solution while keeping the child at home seems like a sensible approach.
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Old 07-13-2011, 02:49 PM   #9
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I have to say that I agree, for the most part, with the general ideas that everyone has posted. I don't think that in all cases removing the child from their homes will solve any and all problems, and might even cause additional trauma for the child. However, like some of you mentioned, in situations like the one that Jolina described with her cousin's children, I feel as though that qualifies as child abuse and should be dealt with more strictly.

For the most part, stories about children who are severely overweight, such as the girl who was 400 lbs at 12, are absolutely heartbreaking, and I have to wonder that if the parents aren't at fault then who is? We are a society that seems to enjoy playing the blame game to the fullest extent, and I think there is a point when it has gone to far. Perhaps parents aren't necessarily force-feeding their children thousands of calories a day, and they may not be educated in the basics of nutrition, or have enough money to buy wholesome foods, but does this mean that society itself is to blame. Anyway, now I'm just asking somewhat rhetorical questions, but this article really got me thinking. Thanks for the input ladies!!
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:07 PM   #10
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My dd is overweight. It has been that way for awhile. No matter what I do it seems she keeps gaining. We don't have junk food in the house, we rarely go to fast food restaurants, hardly any sweets, and healthy snacks (fruits and veggies). I also usually cook our meals at home every night. I limit starches in those meals. I am not going to not let her have cake when she goes to a birthday party (those are few and far between). She takes her own lunch to school much of the time. I can monitor what she eats that way. I have also talked to her pediatrician about the weight and he tells me I am doing everything right. My problem is snack at school. Sometimes kids bring in cookies and such and I cannot control that. I know that is not the only factor. We also ride bikes for a couple miles a few times a week. She loves to play basketball and would rather be playing outside than inside. Cold weather is coming here so those things may be limited and we will have to find something different. So should my dd be taken away even though I am trying to control her weight gain?
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Old 10-21-2011, 12:21 PM   #11
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You need a license to drive, you should need some basic skills to be a parent. But this country is sorely disillusioned by the "blood" is better. It is a form of abuse, think about it, you are on a "3FC" post. It effects the childs personality, self esteem and most of all their health, which we as a nation wind up paying for. I know someone who's daughter was huge and she still lives off the system in her 30's 'cause she is too fat to work, has diabetes and all kinds of other problems. Her parents couldn't say "no" to her. hmmm
If you stuffed your kid full of heroin, they would be taken away. Same difference, they are teaching their children to be addicted to food and bad food at that. JMO
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:31 PM   #12
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i agree with the person who said it depends on the situation.... not all parents have healthy lifestyles and may not realize what they need to do for their children, then theres the parents who try everything to help their children and it doesnt work (my mom did this for me, turned out it was a thyroid problem but she still tried and was unsuccessful) unless the parents are deliberately stuffing their childrens faces and making them obese or overweight on purpose i dont think the kids should be taken away. those parents are still providing their children with a loving home.
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Old 10-25-2011, 02:34 AM   #13
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It's a form of abuse (both psychological as well as physical) and neglect so I agree that the children should be taken away from the parents in these situations. I think I was like 115 lbs as a 13 year old. I cannot imagine being 400 lbs even now let alone back then.
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