Should morbidly obese children be removed from their parents?

@bagarad (12170)
Paso Robles, California
August 30, 2011 7:13pm CST
There's a lot of talk now in America about obese children. They say half of the children in America are obese because they eat too much of the wrong things and don't get enough exercise because they spend too much time in front of the TV or computer or playing video games. Some health practitioners and government officials say a morbidly obese child -- one in danger of dying from complications of obesity, such as diabetes, should be removed from their parents and put into a foster home until the situation can be resolved so that the parents can be educated on how to provide a healthier environment before the child is returned. Do you think these children should be removed from their parents? Or should the children stay with their parents while they are learning to provide a healthier diet? I think the trauma of being removed from the parents might cause emotional problems which might make the child want to eat even more. What do you think?
2 people like this
13 responses
• United States
31 Aug 11
I think that instead of coming up with the money to place these children in foster homes and fight the parents for removing them. That they should put all the energy and effort into helping the parents understand how to go about helping the child. See removing the child means they have to pay now for their child's support, the foster parents for caring for them and medical benefits. It would be best if hey worked with the parents and perhaps get a better result that way. Now if the parents refuse then that is where action needs to be taken.
2 people like this
• United States
31 Aug 11
That is what I was going to say HWG, but didn't know how to put it into words..You said what I felt, I don't think the parents meant for their child to get so obese, and guidance in healthy eating and exercise for the whole family should be the first choice.
• United States
31 Aug 11
Having been raised in the Foster care system myself, I do know first hand what takes place in some of them. I never spent a full year in one home, as I was bounced from home to home for many, many years. This is why I would one of the ones that would strongly suggest to perhaps help the parents with the kids, because it is not easy for a child to adjust to the foster care system, once they have been accustomed to being with a family. Granted for me I was in the system from day one of my birth so I did not have to adjust it was the way my life was.
• United States
31 Aug 11
I agree with you that there could be major emotional issues for a child if removed from the home. What this country needs to focus on is educating families as a whole. Many of the children come from families that are poor, and don't have access to quality health care, which is where most nutritional education is given. This country is great, but we suck (excuse my language) at preventative care. We need to make healthy foods more accessible. Let's face it. Buying a box of mac and cheese is much cheaper than buying fresh veggies. We shouldn't beat up the parents, or tear apart families.
2 people like this
@bagarad (12170)
• Paso Robles, California
31 Aug 11
Very true. And a box of mac and cheese takes less for a tired working mom or single parent to get on the table, as well. When we first got our kids (at 5 and 9) they already were used to certain foods like packaged man and cheese and canned ravioli and forzen burritos. It was very hard to change them over to home prepared foods. These things take time. Many people know they could prepare food more cheaply from scratch, but they believe it will take hours to cook. We need to show them how to cook quick nutritious meals that aren't too expensive.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Aug 11
The thing is, though, that many times the healthy meals that can be prepared from scratch are not less expensive than the unhealthy, prepackaged ones. Once you buy all the ingredients to be able to prepare the meal, you have spent at least the amount that you would have spent for a prepackaged meal, and many times you have spent far more than that. I am not saying that it is right, but I am saying that financially I can at least understand why some parents feel that they do not have any choice other than to do this.
• United States
31 Aug 11
I think the child will blame him/herself and Not eat. They will go to the opposite , they will think I Mustn't eat so I can go home. So instead of being obese they will be bulimic or anorexic. yes the Food Nazis think it is the parents fault so to punish them , take the kids away. But they don't seem to understand if the child is taken away, the child may blame themselves and the outcome may be worse. and besides if half the children are obese, where are all these foster homes going to come from?
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (99444)
• United States
31 Aug 11
Your final question is very pertinent. I have seen some very good foster homes, but I have also seen some that are the pits. How does that help a child? Disrupting social connections is not good for anyone.
2 people like this
@marguicha (95016)
• Chile
4 Sep 11
Although I don´t live in the US so I don´t fully understand all the different motives courts have there to remove children from their parents, I would rather make those parents take housekeeping and cooking lessons and see that they give good food to their children. I have read here of the many people who eat out a lot at fast food chains, yet they worry with money problems. Cooking from scratch a well balanced meal is much cheaper that going to a MacDonalds or a BurgerKing. Drinking water with a bit of squeezed lemon or orange (the real thing) is better than sodas. I have heard that if a person in the US does something against the community, one type of punishment is to make him/her do some community work. How about taking nutrition classes as community work? And learn a bit of cooking on the side? I am sure all those parents (or most of them) really love their children. It´s just that they don´t know better. They, themselves, are overweighted. When I was little we did not decide what to eat and what not to eat: we ate what was of our plate. And there were NO snacks. It was breakfast, lunch, diner and a glass of milk at night.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (12170)
• Paso Robles, California
4 Sep 11
This is the way it ought to be, but here in the US, too many parents let their children watch too much TV, and the TV commericals make them want to eat fattening and unhealthy processed and fattening foods. So then the children pester their parents for these things. Working moms often don't want to cook when they get home tired, so they give in to the children's desires for fast food out of frozen foods at home. They think cooking nutritrious food takes more time, energy, and money than they have. The children think they need sweet or salty snacks instead of fruits and vegetables. Many parents allow their children to be picky eaters and give them what they want, not what they should have. In many households, the children seem to get what they want. Parent do need education on how to prepare quick, tasty, and nutritious meals and on how to gradually train their children's taste so they will begin to enjoy eating those foods.
@marguicha (95016)
• Chile
4 Sep 11
In my country most women have to work too, but many cook from scratch if they want the ends to meet. I am absolutly sure than a healthy main dish of legumes takes no more to be made than 15 minutes if you have a pressure cooker. Low price kitchen gadgets save a lot of work on the long run. I soak my legumes just as my grandmother did and so do my daughters. We buy few cannned food, some frozen food and a lot of fresh things. All those fries and snacks full of fat are not only unhealthy but very expensive. We even make from scratch baby food and it´s healthier than bought one. There are ways to sterilize them so you can make several in one batch. No need to cook all evening. Our children´s breakfast is bread and butter or bread and jam. We don´t have fried or scrambled eggs with bacon for breakfast. I have gone several times to Disney World and each time I saw heavier children. And when I saw a thin, healthy child, he/she wasn´t talking in English.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Aug 11
I think measures should be taken long before the child is considered obese. If a child is very overweight at checkups doctors should give parents lots of diet information and tell them their child needs to lose weight by a certain time, and make sure it happens. So many illnesses including diabetes could not happen if parents would switch their children to healthy food. But most adults need to start eating healthy and exercising. I am really upset with fat parents who have fat children, cuz as someone said, their grocery buggy is full of horrible foods. How is a child supposed to stay in shape when his parents are lazy and give him pizza rolls to eat all day. Children learn by example. Cut off your tv and go outside and play. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol all runs in my family. Obesity comes with all these things. The only people in my family who aren't sick are ones who eat right and stay in shape. I'm not saying you can't stop at burger king and get your kid a happy meal, but do it in moderation. Seriously though, your kids will thank you when they are older. And about foster homes, I've known several people who were in them and maybe one said they liked their family. Others were mentally or physically(even s3xually) abused. Or they were used for the money and foodstamps they got. I would rather someone tell me to go on a diet with my child, than for them to put him in a situation like that. I don't have cable tv and I play with (running,jumping) my kids every day. And I believe the best way to show your child love is to make sure they are happy and healthy. No kid really wants to sit in front of a tv all day. Get bikes, go roller skating, swimming, anything active. You will feel so much better knowing your kids and yourself are healthy.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (12170)
• Paso Robles, California
31 Aug 11
I think you've hit the nail on the head! We kept our kids physically active and we went for a walk as a family very often. Soemtimes we went to the park and we all used the swings. Sometimes we walked to a neaby state park and took a trail there. Soemtimes we just walked around the neighborhood to say hi to the neighbors and invite them to come along. Many times they did. Our son used to love to play outside, and we had no TV to distract him. I built a treehouse, a tree fort with some logs in the front yard and every kid in the neighborhood came to help because it was fun. He also loved to ride bikes with his friends.One day after we had visited a living history day at an abobe, he came home and started to make adobe bricks in the back yard to build an adobe fort. If given a chance and some free time, and if not yet in the habit of watching TV or being on the computer all the time (we had neither, since it was before people had PCs in the home), most kids would like to play outside with other kids. When it was birthday party time, we had a joint party at a nearby beach for both children. It was across from and part of a state park near our home. My husband and any other parents who wanted to come would take an eight mile hike to the beach through the park with all the kids who wanted to do that. Most did. I and some of the moms would meet them at the beach with the food. We'd feed them, the kids would open their presents, and then the families would help watch the kids as they played on the beach and in the water. It was fun, because we didn't need to limit the guests, and we could meet the parents of our kids since their families were also invited, and everyone got lots of exercise . These parties were very popular, and we thought it was better (and more economical) than taking the kids somewhere like a pizza parlour where they played video games to entertain themselves. One year, after my daughter was no longer with us, we had a swimming party at a friend's pool. The kids enjoyed something fun and physical to do with other kids
• United States
31 Aug 11
Sounds like your children had a great time. I only wish I could give that to mine, but sadly play dates are centered around the coolest tv gadget or computer game. Even when I was growing up, after I hit about 12, there was no more riding bikes or roller skates. Everyone has a video game console and stayed in all day. My children are only 2 and 6months, so they aren't old enough for those things yet, but I'm worried they wont be as active anymore. Right now we live in a farm where he can run around and go for hikes and such. But who knows where we will be in 4 or 5 years. I'm hoping we can stay here and give our children a healthy fun life away from all the horrible things America now encompasses. I wish I could give my kids the childhood yours had, but today its not very easy. I will still try my hardest. And if its not working out I can always buy a bunch of land in Colorado or somewhere and start my own self sufficient farm.... that'd be awesome
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Aug 11
This is a really tough issue for many reasons. I do not think that the answer is removing the children from their parents, although I am sure there are some instances where this would probably be the best scenario. There are many reasons why a child could be obese, and assuming that the child is improperly fed and not getting exercise is not right. If this is proven to be the case, then obviously I think that the entire family should at least be counseled by not only a nutritionist but also a physical fitness expert (in conjunction with the doctor, of course, to ensure that the caloric intake and physical exertion are within the proper boundaries to remain healthy). However, I think that the child(ren) should also be examined to make sure that there are not other health conditions that could be contributing to the obesity. If there are, then these should be addressed first, especially since many diets not to mention the wrong kinds of exercise could actually endanger the child(ren)'s health even more than the obesity.
1 person likes this
@debrakcarey (19924)
• United States
1 Sep 11
I agree, take them to see if something else is not the problem first, then to an alternative healthcare practicioner/naturapath. Medical doctors are not fully trained in nutrtional ways to stay healthy. Not everyone is the same or has the same needs. A phyical therapist is a good idea purplealabaster. Many kids have trouble during puberty (growth spurt) with the wrong exercises for their fast growing bodies.
2 people like this
• United States
1 Sep 11
Thank you. I agree that everybody is different, and while there are obviously general rules that most people can follow, each individual will not fit neatly into any general category. There are always special instances that need to be addressed as we all have our own abilities and limitations. Even our own bodies change over time, and we need to modify our diet and exercise routines to accommodate these changes. Most people can't afford to go see their normal doctor on a regular basis let alone a nutritionist or a physical therapist. I think that if insurance companies spent more money on preventative measures, such as allowing people to see these kinds of professionals in conjunction with each other to give individuals the opportunity to have a healthy foundation through education and individual training, then it would save the insurance companies money in the long run, because they wouldn't have to pay for as many medical conditions that are a result of unhealthy lifestyles ... and we all know that insurance companies are motivated by profit.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Aug 11
No. Foster parents aren't the answer for every situation we face. Obesity can occur from many different problems, from eating too much and getting little exercise, a thyroid problem, genetics, depression, and a slow metabolism. It is up to the parents to understand why their child is obese, and then start on a plan to help the child with its weight. Some children who are obese outgrow it when they get older. I've seen a child who was quite overweight slim down by the time he was a teenager. Currently, a friend of mine was once nearly obese. She changed her life style by cutting out pop and sweets, and took to walking everywhere. In just several months she dropped nearly 100 lbs. Today she is continuing to maintain her weight. Her current frustration is getting her young daughter to follow suit. She's cut her off of high fat contents, soda, and other stuff, and has encouraged to get out more. She enjoys swimming, so that's a start. Problem is, the daughter sneaks goodies the grandmother buys at times. So it's a never ending battle. I believe instead of taking an obese child from its parents, a thorough investigation should be conducted of the history of health problems, obesity, and eating patterns. Afterward, the parent and child should attend classes promoting awareness of obesity and the dangers of it. If after the classes, the parent doesn't seem to care about the child's condition, an evaluation of depression should be taken into account. And then the appropriate help can be given.
1 person likes this
@bagarad (12170)
• Paso Robles, California
31 Aug 11
Thanks for sharing that concrete example to illustrate your point. Weight loss works best as a family project -- including grandmas.
@jillhill (37384)
• United States
31 Aug 11
No....I don't think they should. They need to be home with their parents...and if the parent is also obese...they all need to be educated on how to eat a more healty diet...
1 person likes this
@cripfemme (7718)
• United States
31 Aug 11
I think that perhaps intervention by a nutritionist or other concerned person is a practical first step. I would draw the line at removal unless it's really clearly abusive behavior that's causing the child to eat more as a coping mechanism or it gets dangerous as in the child is likely to die. Then I think you have a case for removal because the parents aren't taking good care of the kid, which is, in my opinion, when you should not have them any more.
@se7enthbird (8328)
• Philippines
31 Aug 11
for me i disagree with this. i guess the parent and the child needs to learn it together. this health practitioners needs to teach the child and the parent work together, for a healthier life style. they need to make sure that both parents and child will understand this. now if ever after teaching them still they did not learn then that is the time that the child should be removed from the parents. after this practitioners see that it did not work out. atleast there is something the parents and the child should strive for.... if they dont want to get separated from each other they need to work this things out. just my opinion.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Aug 11
Stress make some people not have a desire to eat. I know a few parents who deserve to lose their kids. I also see the shopping carts of those fat people and it makes me sick. I think the kids should stay home and the parents are fined if they are not shopping in a better way in to help free the child of this behavior. Not all kids can turn around and eat healthy over night it will take just as much time as it would anything else learned..
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (99444)
• United States
31 Aug 11
I do not think they should be removed from the home at all, unless the parents refuse to see that there is a problem. Even then, I think if told it was an option, maybe the parent would try to change their ways. I think many of these situations would benefit from having a peer tutor or advocate visit the home, help with shopping and teach new games and things that do not involve electronics. This is part of what we tried to do with Head Start. We did have families that were resistant though, so I am not sure of the solution. It is sad to have a four year old at pre school have an "accident" and have to go borrow size 12 from the attached grade school. It is scary to have a four year old boy weigh over 100 lbs and say that he always eats supper on his bed watching the television in his bedroom. Often we ran into parents who did not seem to know any better.
@GemmaR (8526)
31 Aug 11
I don't think that any child should be removed from their parents if it can possibly be helped. If you think about the amount of children who have weight issues, it would take forever to be able to do this and we just don't have the funds. Families should be helped to understand the reasons that it's good to lose weight, and given help with cooking and shown meals that are healthy, taste good, and are easy to make. The children should have monthly doctor's appointments to monitor their weight and should be given rewards, though not food, when they manage to lose a little bit of their excess weight.