A recent commentary published in the Journal of the American Medical Association led to the production of the article presented by FOX News " Should Parents Lose Custody of Super Obese Kids? " JUly 13, 2011. Very accurately described as a "provocative commentary", it is vitally important to keep it in mind that it is exactly that... a commentary. This is an educated person's opinion worth listening to and considering which must be taken within its proper context. Commentaries, in general, are important to read, as they often challenge one's core of beliefs and values, shaking their foundations at times.
This is an extremely controversial subject and equally passionate advocates of both sides are quick to make their voices heard. Right or wrong, the recurring theme, however, is that, in general, differing parties seem to have a genuine concern for today's children. Our children are, truly, in grave danger ... and for some children, they are staring the danger in the face NOW, in addition to the dangers awaiting them in the future. Because of this reality, the medical community does, at times, support the Court's difficult decision to separate a child from their parent.
Before formulating one's final opinion on this delicate subject, keep a few important points in mind:
There is "No Let Up in US Obesity Epidemic" (medscape) -- this threat is not going away any time soon (to see the latest statistics on adult and childhood obesity rates click on the article " F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011 " Trust for America's Health). Therefore, action must be taken in some appropriate form or another.
Parents need to be given the skills and tools necessary to be proactive about taking their child's health back in their hands. There are many reasons for this (to name a few) -- many parents lack the education to be parents, others have strenuous financial pressures that require them to leave their children for long hours or days at a time and their kids find themselves raising themselves.
Children and teens are sponges (even when you think they are not listening, they are). Do not underestimate the power of a child's mind -- at every moment possible, children and teens must be provided with age-appropriate healthy lifestyles education and plenty of opportunities to practice these under reliable supervision.
Turn awareness into action. Now that we know, we are responsible for doing something about it.
The call is there, the need is evident... what are you going to do to make a difference in the children in your community? In your neighborhood? In your household?
Picture by A. Fals - family at grocery store learning together about food label reading and healthier shopping choices