September 24, 2022

Should parents lose custody of their obese children?

One way of managing the US’s childhood obesity crisis could be to remove the most severely overweight kids from their parents, argues a Harvard obesity expert and pediatrics professor in a controversial commentary published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
One
way of managing the US’s childhood obesity crisis could be to remove the most
severely overweight kids from their parents, argues a Harvard obesity expert
and pediatrics professor in a controversial commentary published on Tuesday in
the Journal of the American Medical Association. His recommendation to consign
extremely obese children facing life-threatening complications to foster care
is jarring, but it has happened a few times. As a temporary solution it might
help prevent serious health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, liver problems
and sleep apnea in some of the 2 million or so highly obese children in the US,
David Ludwig says.

“State
intervention may serve the best interests of many children with
life-threatening obesity, comprising the only realistic way to control harmful
behaviors,” Ludwig and attorney Lindsey Murtagh, a Harvard public-health
researcher. Since situations involving the undernourishment of children have
often been defined as child abuse, why not over-nourishment?

Bioethicist
Art Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania, rejects the idea. “Our laws give
enormous authority to parents and rightly so,” he writes in a commentary
for MSNBC
. “The only basis for compelling medical treatment against a
parent’s wishes are [sic] if a child is at imminent risk of death — meaning
days or hours — and a proven cure exists for what threatens to kill them.
Obesity does not pass these requirements.” ~ TIME, Jul 13

 

Should parents lose custody of their obese children?
Jared Yee
Arthur Caplan
obesity
US