Childhood obesity is not just a nationwide problem but one affecting the globe, and it has led one country to take what some are considering drastic action.
According to a pair of court rulings in Australia, child protection workers can use childhood obesity as a way to extract a child from the home and be placed under state or clinical supervision.
The Age‘s Adrian Lowe reports that in one of the cases, a teen girl’s waistline was greater than her height and in the other, a preteen boy weighed 110 kilograms (or approximately 242 pounds).
As a result, the courts ordered that the girl “remain legally in the care of the state,” Lowe says.
As for the boy, he was to be removed from his mom’s care and placed into a “therapeutic setting,” the report adds.
John Dixon, an associate professor of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, does not expect an explosion of these types of cases, but said he would not be surprised if there were more.
“I would not want parents out there with overweight or obese children to in any way feel that it’s through their negligence that we have a growing obesity issue in children today,” he said. “That would be very wrong indeed … This is a community problem, an Australia-wide, a global problem that we’re not addressing very well at the moment.”
It is Dixon’s belief that parents of overweight children and the children themselves are “victims” of the current environment.
And if you’re worried that someone is going to show up to take your kid from you tomorrow because they are clinically obese, it may not be time to move underground just yet.
A spokesman for Australia’s Department of Human Services told the publication that childhood obesity could not get a kid removed from their parents’ care alone, adding that “obesity may be a symptom of other issues that could place a child at risk or harm that would warrant child-protection involvement.”
In the U.S., the Let’s Move Campaign estimates that over the last 30 years, “childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese.”
The website notes that numbers are “even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese.”
The site continues.
“If we don’t solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.”
What do you think, readers? Is one “answer” to the problem making childhood obesity a form of child abuse as Australia seems to be doing? Sound off in the comments section.
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