Parents punished in custody cases for chubby kids

The American Medical Association is increasingly worried for our nation’s children, and they are calling for drastic action. A commentary in a recent American Medical Association Journal proposed that obese children be removed from their parents’ custody and placed into foster care to receive the diet and exercise they need.

If childhood obesity becomes grounds for removal of a child from the family home, it will have an impact on how custody determinations are made in divorce proceedings. Parents may have to provide evidence to the judge that they are in a better position than the other parent to provide proper nutrition and exercise to the children of the marriage. Excessive video game playing and fast food stops can reflect poorly on a parent seeking primary custody.

Approximately 2 million children in the United States are considered extremely obese. Childhood obesity has serious risks for a child, not only while he or she is young, but also as he or she ages. Diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and premature wear on joints all result from obesity.

While some doctors may think the government should step in and get these children what they need, parents feel this stance may be too drastic.  They propose instead, an education program for parents and families on nutrition and the importance of weekly exercise.

Currently, children can be taken from their family home in the even they are not getting enough to eat. It may be awhile longer before a court will take a child from a home for getting too much to eat.

Source: Connect Mid Missouri, “Should parents lose custody of their obese children?” Meghan Lane, July 17, 2011

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