So, should it? If someone has fat kids, should it be considered child abuse? I ask this question based upon the recent suggestion by Boston-based physician Dr. David Ludwig (of Boston Children’s Hospital), who dared to propose that “high-risk” obese kids should be taken from their parents and placed in foster care. His argument is likely that obese kids have obese parents, and live in a lifestyle where healthy living isn’t either acknowledged, or afforded. Whatever his reasoning is behind suggesting that fat kids be placed in foster care (to be placed in an environment where they can lose weight, of course), Dr. Ludwig has created quite a stir among angry parents who believe he’s being too harsh.
As far as I’m concerned, if you are knowingly placing your child in danger (which you are if you are feeding them an unhealthy lifestyle), then yes, what you are doing is considered child abuse. Twenty million American kids are obese, with 2 million of these kids being dangerously obese. Obesity in kids goes far beyond the fat jokes- we’re talking about diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, joint problems, premature sexual maturity, and a huge likelihood of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack as an adult. If you’re going to let your kids be fat, you may as well let them smoke, too- you’re doing them no justice in passing over the Twinkies.
Kids can’t eat what their parents don’t give them, and parents who allow their kids to nosh on fast food, frozen meals instead of healthy alternatives, french fries for dinner, etc know what they are doing. Some kids are naturally fat, but this is a medical disease that most parents go to great measures to manage with the help of a doctor, and these kids take up a tiny percentage of obesity among children, just like ‘naturally’ fat adults take up a miniscule amount of America’s two-thirds obesity percentage. Come on, if your kids are fat, it’s your fault- and you should pay for it.
Just like parents who abuse their kids are either reprimanded or watched like a hawk by CPS, parents who allow their kids to be fat should be watched the same way. They should be forced by law to take classes on healthy eating, have their refrigerators and cupboards checked monthly for contraband snacks and lazy foods (and also be given lists of foods they can buy- don’t balk, what do you think WIC does?). They should have to be assigned a dietician and take their poor kids in for checkups monthly, or else they should be reported to the State.
Seriously- there is no reason on earth why a 3 year old should be fat- unless you involve the parents. A parent is not allowed to spank their own child, but they are allowed to abuse their diet to the point where they cannot even grow naturally? Every obese family should be held under the same scrutiny as a child abuse situation would be- and these families should be heavily educated on healthy living. If a parent isn’t going to allow their children to be healthy and eat healthy, then hell yes- it’s child abuse!
note: I never once said that fat kids should be taken from their homes and placed in foster care- on the contrary- a situation in which a child is obese should be treated like a child abuse situation; the family be evaulated, educated, watched, and aided to move in a positive direction. If not, well, then, the parents who still allow their kids to be fat after being educated, reprimanded, and above all, WARNED- don’t you think maybe their kids deserve better?