US:Two Million Children At Risk of Being Taken Away From Their Parents? #parents #kids #health #prolife #tcot
Posted Jul 14 2011 2:50pm
This is latest big government intervention on the horizon. Though I highly doubt it will become legal in the case of two million morbidly obese children. I think the government needs to give parents more credit and just raise awareness of the health risks and dangers of being morbidly obese. The child's pediatrician should have these children on special diets and instruct the parents as well as to what a healthy diet and weight for their child is.
It is not the job of the government to take children away from their homes and families, dividing families and causing emotional trauma to children, in order to make sure their children are eating a proper diet. The trauma of being separated could become worse for the child than the actual solution to the weight problem, as has occurred in such cases already. Not to mention, there is a need for more foster families to care for children who are in far more imminent danger from abuse,&death.
While I believe government intervention is needed to protect children from imminent harm,such as physical,sexual abuse&neglect, this is not necessarily a case of neglect or abuse,but perhaps lack of parental guidance,supervision or education and awareness,and could also be genetic. Some children are prone to weight problems, diabetes and other conditions because of genetic predispositions. You can't say because your child is 100 pounds overweight we are going to take them away from you. This is a dangerous precedent to take, because who's to say later the government won't say, your child is failing in school so we are going to remove them from your care and make sure they are getting proper tutoring and supervision.
The New American sums up the case of government intervention below, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association
An article in the most recent edition of the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that as many as two million children who are "morbidly obese" should be put on a diet by government and removed from their parents and families if they don't show progress.
A morbidly obese person is someone who's body mass index (BMI) is 40 or higher, generally someone who is 100 pounds or more overweight. According to the July 13 USA Today , and the JAMA article, "Roughly 2 million U.S. children are extremely obese. Most are not in imminent danger, Ludwig said. But some have obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties and liver problems that could kill them by age 30." USA Today added, "Ludwig said he started 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." But Ludwig has apparently never heard of the legal adage that "hard cases make bad law."
David Ludwig of Boston Children's Hospital, one of the two authors of the JAMA article, is quick to say that society itself should be restructured in addition to the family in order to combat childhood obesity. "The point isn’t to blame the parents, but rather to act in the child’s best interest and get them help that for whatever reason their parents can’t provide,” Ludwig told the Children's Hospital blog. “It’s ironic that we would blame parents for their child’s obesity when we tolerate as a society policies that directly promote obesity, like food ads aimed at young people, atrocious-quality school lunches, cutbacks in school budgets to support regular physical education. There’s plenty of blame to spread around.”
Ludwig and his co-author Lindsey Murtagh of the Harvard School of Public Health acknowledge their proposals are going to be controversial. "State intervention would clearly not be desirable or practical, and probably not be legally justifiable, for most of the approximately 2 million children in the United States with a BMI at or beyond the 99th percentile," the two wrote .
Indeed, the legal hurdles are daunting. The traditional standard for removing a child from his or her parents has been only to prevent permanent " imminent and irreparable harm to the child ." Despite the extreme example that inspired Ludwig, most obese children have little damage that is irreparable to them and little damage that is imminent. Moreover, even imminent harm to a child alone is not enough to necessitate taking a child away from his parents. In a 2004 New York state custody case, the state's highest court unanimously ruled that "the court must specifically consider whether imminent risk to the child might be eliminated by other means" before parental custody can be removed.
This standard of presumption on behalf of parents is under assault, however. "It’s a controversial stance, but not one without precedent," the Boston Children's Hospital blog noted . "To date seven states have seen legal cases where the over-nourishment of a minor ended in state intervention."
And while nobody wants children to grow up obese and with health problems, the alternative is almost certainly worse. ABC-TV covered the Ludwig story and found that in one case placement in foster care did not cure the weight issue, but parental separation had traumatized the child.
Additional steps are being enforced already to reduce children's weight by limiting what they eat in school and the government dictating what choices kids have under Michelle Obama's platform. Some companies propose curbing junk food ads for kids , while states like CA are banning kids meals at fast food restaurants and other restaurants are changing their kids menus to offer more healthy selections. While this may limit people's choices;it only takes away freedom of choice and could cause children to eat less because they aren't eating what they want. However, this could also lead to malnutrition problems as well,because while taking away 'junk food' choices and chocolate milk might seem like a good decision, it could also hinder kids choices and willingness to eat a full meal. The bottom line is that parents need to be educated on what a healthy diet is,practice eating healthy,stay active themselves and to limit junk food in the home. This is what we strive to do with our sons, who are thankfully very active and healthy.