Should parents lose custody of super obese kids? Really?!? How about: No.
Now that we’ve cleared that up; here’s a picture of some adorable fawns:
That isn’t enough of a break down of the above? You want more than assertions and non-sequitor photos? *sigh* Okay.
The above-linked article references a letter that just appeared in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). The letter actually starts off somewhat encouraging (if you haven’t read the title of it that is):
Ubiquitous junk food marketing, lack of opportunities for physically active recreation, and other aspects of modern society promote unhealthful lifestyles in children.
By this point I’m thinking: “Okay, awesome. So we’re talking about working on state initiatives to provide all kids in the US with access to safe recreation spaces and less crap-tastic marketing of “junk” foods. Maybe that even means addressing concerns of food deserts across our nation!”
But, alas, it is not to be. No. The focus of this letter, and thus the article above, is that parents should be superseded by the government and have their children taken away “for their own good” in cases of extreme obesity. Despite the article insisting that the doctor writing this suggestion into the journal:
“said the point isn’t to blame parents, but rather to act in children’s best interest and get them help that for whatever reason their parents can’t provide.”
the implication is still there that this is all really about punishing parents for daring to have (and keep) their Fatty Kids.
Yet, the author of the article is not so kind as the article wants to make you believe. Even in the first paragraph the author of said letter bluntly states that it IS the parent’s fault:
“Inadequate or unskilled parental supervision can leave children vulnerable to these obesigenic environmental influences. “
While I have to grin at the wordification of “obesigenic” (yeah, spell-check doesn’t like either of those two previous big words, fyi) I can see the underlying danger in these sorts of proposed interventions. Not only are we STILL focusing on parents and how any fat kid is basically being abused because their parents (who, for the record, have pretty much a 3/4 chance of ALSO being fat; you know, genetics?) must OBVIOUSLY be doing something WRONG to have a fat child.
Genetic studies have shown that the particular set of weight-regulating genes that a person has is by far the most important factor in determining how much that person will weigh. The heritability of obesity—a measure of how much obesity is due to genes versus other factors—is about the same as the heritability of height. It’s even greater than that for many conditions that people accept as having a genetic basis, including heart disease, breast cancer, and schizophrenia. As nutrition has improved over the past 200 years, Americans have gotten much taller on average, but it is still the genes that determine who is tall or short today. The same is true for weight
I really despise the assumptions and assertions made by Dr Ludlow, the author of this proposal. Not only does it still put the onus of body size upon the heads of parents (mostly Moms; since media loves telling us that mothers are who we all have to raise us, wash our dirty things and feed us, right?); but such interventions as taking kids out of loving homes simply because their body is a certain size, really take that “I know your health just by looking” idea to the extreme. And that should be very frightening to everyone. What is next?
I also fail to see how picking one-off cases of “OMGSoFAT!” kids and pushing them in ways that supposedly improve health but, at the least, show results of lost weight; is really in the best interest of any of us in this country.
Stop focusing on the minute here people! If you want to focus on a nation’s HEALTH then stop equating FAT with UN-HEALTH and focus on measures of actual health (as sticky a concept as that is when you come down to it). How about this, somethings I’ve proposed before here: Access to all kinds of foodstuffs for everyone; safe places for recreation for everyone; freedom from prejudice and oppression for everyone. THESE are the sorts of initiatives I feel our precious social government funds should be spent upon. Not the demonization of fatness.
If this still doesn’t make your blood boil; think of this as if it were any other disease, as indeed researchers want obesity to be viewed. Does this mean that thin kids with type 2 diabetes, heart disease or sleep apnea are going to also be taken from their parents? I mean; those are the same disease markers that triggered the removal of the 90lb 3 year old from her home.
Roughly 2 million U.S. children are extremely obese. Most are not in imminent danger, Ludwig said. But some have obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties and liver problems that could kill them by age 30. It is these kids for whom state intervention, including education, parent training, and temporary protective custody in the most extreme cases, should be considered, Ludwig said. (Emphasis mine)
So, ALL kids with Type 2 diabetes, breathing difficulties, and liver problems (which could kill them by 30!) should be included in this plan, right? Including the thin ones? Oh, that’s right. We only care about the fat ones. So…caring of you. Right.
The only minor saving grace here is that this Dr. Ludwig of this proposal doesn’t think bariatric surgery is the answer for kids. Well, hallelujah! We at least have that; a small voice of sanity saying that maybe cutting into the bodily systems of younglings might, possibly, be more harmful than leaving them to grow and develop naturally. Yay! How noble of you, kind sirs and madams, to accept that such surgery may, indeed, be more dangerous than is currently understood. Why, then, is it so difficult to understand the possible ramifications of the ideas you DO propose??
I think I need to look at the small deer-lings again…