Who's responsible for a child's obesity?

United States
January 3, 2008 8:47am CST
I have a feeling this might be a touchy subject, but here goes any way. If a child, say 16 years or younger is overweight, who is responsible for that? I chose 16 years, because generally in the U.S. people under 16 are not permitted to work a traditional job and therefor make money. So, your child of 12yrs old is over weight. Is the child responsible? Is he/she the one who bought the food? Or, are that parent's responsible because they supplied the food and didn't teach the child healthy eating habits? I just heard on the TV that the U.S. is now the fattest nation in the world. I think that's unfortunate and maybe the trouble begins in childhood.
4 people like this
19 responses
@Stiletto (4584)
4 Jan 08
Unless there is a medical condition involved (and there usually isn't) then it's the parent/guardian's fault. Heredity is possibly a factor in so far as some people have a predisposition to gain weight easier than others, but much of the time it's more to do with bad eating habits being passed on to the child. An overweight child will usually have at least one overweight parent. As far as the US being the fattest nation in the world goes, I would agree the problem probably does start in childhood. Personally I haven't been to the US yet but I have lots of friends that have been there and the one thing they all comment on is the portion sizes for meals (which they all say are huge) and also how many really fat people there are. If children grow up in that culture of over-consumption it's not that surprising that they end up with weight problems unless their parents are responsible enough to ensure they have a healthy diet.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 08
I live in the USA and it depends on what restaurant you go to. Some of them will give you a handfull of fries and 2 chicken strips and charge you $12 for that "meal" that you can get at McDonald's for $4.50. Others will open a whole bag of frozen fries, fry them up just for you and throw in 10 chicken strips and call that a meal for $12. It all depends on the restaurant and what their policy is. Personally there are a few restaurants I won't go to because they overcharge for a tiny portion of a meal. My hard earned money is valuable to me and there is one in particular that I don't patronize anymore because when they started, they loaded you up with food and now it's the 2 chicken strips,a piece of toast, an onion ring and a few fries for $12.
@bianx21 (339)
• Philippines
3 Jan 08
as far as i could remember from my developmental psychology subject last sem,we discussed about how obesity affects an individual.primarily,obesity maybe blamed to the parents' way of feeding their children.as you've said it,the parents are the one who give the kids food.parents,especially the mother play an important role in the maintenance of a child's body.if i recall correctly,i read from our dev'l psych book that there has been a study of the fat-cell development and it showed that fat-cells have three critical periods of development.Let me quote it from the book, "the first occurs in the three months before giving,the second is during the first three years of postnatal life and the last is in the early part of adolescence..." (Hurlock,5th edition,1982) so it means that parents must be aware of a child's diet even in the span of pregnancy.i hope i have answered your answer...
@dania_elm (422)
• United States
3 Jan 08
if a child that young is overweight like that and there is not medical reason(thyroid) then it is definately the parents fault our children learn from us to wear seatbelts and tie their shoes and how to eat and if we arent properly teaching them that..... i know of some parents that give their kids junk food all the time instead of real food because they eat it better they like the taste better whatever...give the kid an apple instead of a candybar juice instead of pop its amazing what just a few changes will do towards this problem
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 08
No, the parents are. YOU as parents bought the sweets and sugary snacks. YOU as parents bought that PlayStation. YOU as parents didn't set limits as to what your kids could eat. YOU as parents didn't make your kids go out and play basketball or rollerblade with their friends. YOU as parents watched as your kids porked up because the instant they get home from school, they run to their rooms and play video games or start IMing people they just saw 15 minutes ago. I have no empathy for parents who b*tch and moan that their kids are 200 lbs +. It's not glandular. It's leading a couch potato lifestyle as chiildren that just landed your 28 year old in the hospital, needing bypass surgery.
• United States
4 Jan 08
Thank you. This is exactly what I am trying to say.
1 person likes this
• India
4 Jan 08
junk food, t.v. ,video games are making children fat. out door games,cycling, swimming,should be encouraged in child to make him fit and fine with proper balanced diet.
• India
4 Jan 08
parents are responsible for the child obeosity(younger than 16years) because under 16years child doesn't has much sense about dieting i.e what to eat and what not to eat. Parent's should teach them about dieting and make control over their blind eating.....
• China
4 Jan 08
This should be a touchy subject! In my opinion,heredity is responsible for children's obesity first; On the other hand,the environment should be responsible for that problem! Nowadays,gene haven't been controled by us. So wo should change the environment in which children are living. It includes not only parents' function,but the whole society's function,such as TV,movies,school,video games and so on. Among them,gavernment play a key role in this problem! If you make your child starve, you will commit the law,and you will be charged! However,if you feed your baby overweight,you will not be charged! All these is harmful to children, but one is crime while the other is not! That's strange!
• United States
4 Jan 08
I think it is the familys main job to teach kids how to eat and how active their lives should be. If we teach our kids to eat and watch TV then they will eat and watch TV. I am trying to make some changes in my life so that mykids will know how I feel about my health and takeing care of me.
@vanities (11410)
• Davao, Philippines
4 Jan 08
Not really whose responsible but i guess parents are quite one of the factor on the obesity of the child under 16yrs of age..its what being served on the table i guess..and the appetite of the children..and the lack of exercise/activities in or outside the house..
@garnet80 (354)
• Australia
4 Jan 08
I think the responsibilty is both the adults and the childrens. From an early age it's the parents reaponsibility to teach good food habits. But then it's up to the children to keep up with the healthy eating habbits. That is depending on how old they are and the adults can keep making sure they're eating healthy. Obviously when the kids are out of site we can't always make sure that they will continue to eat healthy but good eating habbits start in the home.
@luanakent (794)
• Brazil
4 Jan 08
The modern way of life contribute to obesity but not only that. Food comes from factories with many vitamins and any government prevents .
• United States
4 Jan 08
Till a age of 14 parents are responsible,above that it is out of their control
@mummybec (685)
• Australia
3 Jan 08
I suppose it really depends, as it could be a medical reason that they are overweight - then in that case it is not really anyones fault. On the other hand though - non medical related - then I think it would be the parents fault as up until a certain age they are the people who have control over what the child eats. Thats my thoughts anyway....
@cripfemme (7713)
• United States
3 Jan 08
I think if the kids are young, say under 14, parents are responsible. However, when children get older, just like with everything else, they become more responsible for their own behaviors.
@miss_elt (17)
• United States
3 Jan 08
You are right, this is a touchy subject. I have a 9year old boy, who is about 40 pounds overweight. I found out, my brother who is staying with us and sleeps on the couch, has been feeding him at 10 or later at night. I thought the little sneak was asleep in his bed. We live in my Mother's house. It is difficult raising kids as it is. let alone in someone elses' house. Who is to blame? I feel anyone who is in the kids life, including me, the Mother.
3 Jan 08
It is the parents fault; from the time a child is born , the mother starts feeding it.A parent has great control over what the child eats.I've seen tv shows where the child is already overly obese and the mother continues to feed the child what they want to eat. And it be big portions of food at a time.As we grow older, we do sway away from some of the foods we used to eat but not too far. That is if you were raised in a household where you were taught about healthy eating. But for a parent to say they have no control over what their child eats ; and she is the one preparing the meals; that's a little crazy sounding to me.
• United States
3 Jan 08
My little sister is a little on the chubby side. I think It's all my mom's fault. Your mom just wants to feed her baby. But her body isn't like my mother's and mines. Her body is like my father, she a gene from him. She needs to lose weight, but she doesn't want to lose weight. She's very chunky but we love her so much, she's still soo cute. However it gets her to be lazy and every time my mom fixes her plate, I always have to tell her to hold down on the rice and just give more vegetables and meat. She needs less carbohydrates that leads her to be constipated. I think It's 50/50, my mom's fault and my sister's fault because she likes so hide and go eat food or just overeat when she's already satisfied. She likes to eat a lot of junk. My mom loves ice cream and her chips, all her comfort foods, and she refuses to give them up. If my sister didn't have access to all of it, she wouldn't have this problem.
• United States
3 Jan 08
From the point of view of someone who has worked in the medical profession for over 20 years, i would say you cant always blame just one thing. I think some children get the overweight tendencies from heredity, just like someone with heart disease or diabetes. However we live in a very sedentary world and that is only making the matter worse. Children need to get outside and play at least 5 days a week. Video games, computers, telephones, tv and other sedentary lifestyles are just terrible. Then of course there is all the fattening foods and empty calorie foods like soda that just reak havoc on our children.
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
3 Jan 08
Well, if there is no medical issue involved I definately say it is the parents or guardians fault. THere is no excuse for not teaching and enforcing healthy eating habits. That being said alot of times finances come into play too. It is a lot cheaper for lower income families to buy high fat, unhealthy convenience foods than to purchase healthier alternatives. I'm talking about people that fall into the in between category where they aren't well off but make enough so they don't qualify for food stamps. What really peeves me off here in Illinois is that the food stamp program is very generous, yet I still see people with their Link cards at the store loading up on junk. Excercise also plays a part of it too. Not only are we raising a lazier, less physically active generation, alot of parents are being lazy in their parenting responsibility by letting the TV and XBox be the babysitter. Even for those who can't afford extracurricular sports, how hard is it to shut off the TV and tell your kids to go play in the backyard?