Should Parents of Extremely Obese Children Lose Custody?

Should parents lose custody of severely obese children if they are unable to control their kids’ weight? A recent editorial in a popular medical journal argues, yes. The authors believe that the government should be allowed to intervene in extreme cases.

The article in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association stated that parents have lost custody of obese children in the past and putting children temporally in foster care is in some cases more ethical than obesity surgery.

Approximately 2 million US children are extremely obese. Some of these kids have obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and liver disease that could prematurely end their lives by age 30.

In a case involving a 12 year old girl weighing 400 pounds the state placed her in foster care where she received three balanced meals a day and a snack or two and moderate excercise. She lost 130 pounds after a year in foster care. State intervention is not always necessary. Another medical journal article discussed a story about a 440 pound 16-year-old girl who developed breathing problems due to her excess weight. After spending time in the hospital and nearly losing her life the family made lifestyle changes and the girl lost 100 pounds.

Health care providers are required to report at risk kids to the government. Is this fair to parents? Do we really want our government to tell us how to raise our kids? I disagree with Wednesday’s article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. I have always believed that parents need to show a good example for their children and teach them how to lead a healthy lifestyle. But I also believe that our freedoms and liberty are important too.

Having the freedom to chose how we live, where we live, what we eat, where we work and play is what makes this country great. There are plenty of resources available for parents including this website, to learn about childhood obesity and how to prevent it. Education and example will help end this epidemic not punishment.

Statistics have showed that a majority of families with obese children are living below the poverty level. If the government wants these families to lead healthier lifestyles instead of taking their children away educational programs should be more readily available for these families. Families on the national WIC (Women Infants Children) program learn about how to make healthy food choices for their family. But once your child reaches age 5 you are taken off of the Federal Government funded program. Maybe another program is needed for families with children over the age of five. Don’t take my rights away or the rights of other parents.
*This is an editorial and may not reflect the opinions of all the writers on The Healthy Moms Magazine.

About This Author

Cascia Talbert is a busy blogger, publisher, freelance writer, online merchant and mother of five children, living in The Pacific Northwest. With a B.A. in history and law and a passion for writing and staying healthy, she started The Healthy Moms Magazine in 2007. The Healthy Moms Magazine is currently ranked the top health blog for moms and features several health expert writers and mom bloggers. Ms. Talbert believes that if mothers are well educated on health issues and how to stay healthy, they can pass that information down to their children and reverse the childhood obesity statistics in the U.S.

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Ms. Talbert is a featured health blogger at and her articles can also be found on She also runs the Healthy Moms Social Network on Ning, manages Mom’s Natural Health and Wellness Store, and is on the Social Media Advisory Board for America’s Wellness Challenge.

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  1. martha brady July 14, 2011
  2. Cascia Talbert July 14, 2011
  3. Justin Germino July 15, 2011
  4. Cascia Talbert July 18, 2011
  5. Stephanie H. July 19, 2012

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