Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Obesity = Child abuse?

Dr. Anonymous made me really think with his latest post entitled "Obesity = Child abuse?". I've decided that instead of clogging up his comments window with my exceedingly long post, I'll add it to here. :)

First of all, I disagree with Dr. A in that this *is* child abuse in my eyes. The child in this case is 8 years old, and weighs 218 pounds. When I was 8 years old, I weighed 60 lbs.

Secondly, it is indicated that the parents have repeatedly not come to appointments with nurses, nutritionists and social workers. This to me indicates that they are either not prepared to accept how unhealthy their son is, or that they just don't care. Either option is dangerous for the child.

Do I think every overweight child is being abused? No. Not in the least. But I do believe in specific circumstances, the label of "abuse" is warranted.

It is a parent's duty to make sure their children are brought up healthy and with good life skills. Showing them that it is okay to eat nothing but junk food is not a healthy life skill. You are helping inflict damage onto your child and is that not abuse? Whether this is done lovingly or not is inadmissible; the end result is the same: A child with unhealthy eating patterns and a dangerous risk of dying at an early age from issues that were completely preventable.

Should this child be removed from his parents' care? I think if they continue to not take this issue seriously, then yes. The child should be removed from their care. They are harming him with what they are feeding him and letting him do or not do (in terms of exercise). Do I think every overweight child should be removed from their parents? No. But again, some cases warrant such drastic actions.

They have not shown they are capable of properly caring for their child. If they continue to follow this pattern of behavior and not accept the help offered to them, then removal of the child would be in his best interest until such a time that his parents understand the harm they are inflicting upon him.

Again, this shouldn't be the case for every overweight child. Lord knows my parents tried everything they could with me to make me stay slim (though admittedly not always for health reasons - thanks dad), and I know several other friends with children who are overweight but not to such a severe state as this child.

I'm ashamed of the parents; these are people who are supposed to bring up their children properly and with a good foundation for getting through life. This child though may not even make it to 30 years of age; that's not a long life time and he certainly doesn't have a good foundation at the moment to build his life upon.


1 comment:

Dr. A said...

Good points. You've made me think as well. Hopefully other will pick up this story for more of a discussion.