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to think that parents who have very obese children are guilty of neglect

(105 Posts)
MeconiumHappens Sun 12-Jun-11 17:30:01

It's accepted that if a child is undernourished, dirty, ignored/emotionally neglected etc that a family can be subject to children's services intervention, but what about those who bring their children up to be VERY obese? Surely over feeding/poor nutrition in the EXTREME is a child welfare issue. I'm not suggesting every child noshing on a happy meal be immediately sent to foster care (before someone inevitably makes a similar comment) and am thinking of the most extreme cases but would be interested in other peooples thoughts on this. It seems to be something we side shuffle around to not upset the child/insult parenting but if its a health issue surely it needs to be managed appropriately for the childs health.

GypsyMoth Sun 12-Jun-11 17:31:01

i have 5 is overweight

am i guilty of abuse then??confused

Tee2072 Sun 12-Jun-11 17:33:24

FFS. Are you for real?

Yes, because every child who is obese is that way because of being fed junk food. Not because of genetics or perhaps physical limitations that don't allow exercise.

And I suppose you are just the person to determine what children are obese due to eating junk food.

meditrina Sun 12-Jun-11 17:33:41

OP didn't say overweight - she said very obese.

Yes, it is harming the child by putting their health at risk. But using emotive terms like "neglect" is unlikely to foster rational debate.

CarGirl Sun 12-Jun-11 17:33:56

Hmm hope you've donned your hard hat.

Provided it is through diet and lifestyle I am agreed that is neglect through ignorance/being an ostrich but it is still differencvt to the kind of neglect that arises through parents who are drug users/alcoholics who really don't give a sh*t about their dc on any level.

cjbartlett Sun 12-Jun-11 17:36:00

well they should be given support, given free membership to leisure centres etc
I'm sure that goes on in many local authorities
if you go to your gp you'll get loads of advice
far cheaper than taking all obsese children into care

altinkum Sun 12-Jun-11 17:37:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

echt Sun 12-Jun-11 17:37:59

Obesity is certainly regarded as a symptom of neglect by child protection in Melbourne. Interestingly, teachers have statutory duty to report neglect, even while off duty, while social workers don't.

meditrina Sun 12-Jun-11 17:38:25

Where did it mention taking them into care? Or is that the only form of intervention SS can provide?

GypsyMoth Sun 12-Jun-11 17:40:34

i'd love to know how to stop them eating crap/not being interested in exercise etc once they become older!!

or do you simply mean the children you can 'control'.....the younger ones??

Tee2072 Sun 12-Jun-11 17:41:32

My problem with the OP is who says what 'very obese' means? Based on what?

BMI actually tells nothing. So who is to say what child is 'very obese'?

cjbartlett Sun 12-Jun-11 17:41:46

well it's obvious that if its a health issue surely it needs to be managed appropriately for the childs health.
don't know anyone who would argue against that
sorry thought op was suggesting care but have reread again and stand by my point that a gp should intervene via a school referral/ preschool referral

catgirl1976 Sun 12-Jun-11 17:42:01

When it is down to diet and lifestyle it is no different to a child being malnourished and should be treated the same by the authorities. I assume that before the hysteria inducing "taken into care" measure, social workers would intervene with things like..oh i dont know trying to help educate the parents about diet and exercise programmes maybe with a gp involved. If the parents still do nothing then yes I personally think it is maltreatement but I imagine it is a rare parent who deliberatly harms thier child and more often an uneducated one.

strandedbear Sun 12-Jun-11 17:42:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TidyDancer Sun 12-Jun-11 17:43:32

While it's obvious that in some cases of neglect, poor diets that induce obesity can be a symptom, obesity in itself is not something I consider to be neglectful.

tralalala Sun 12-Jun-11 17:44:23

obviously not all obese children are obese due to poor diet/lack of exercise but the vast majority are.

It can be a result of neglect (such as the kids at the end if my road who eat chocolate bars for breakfast/chips everynight for tea and whose mum in her own words c'can't be arsed to cook' ). but it can also be down to the very difficult and emotive relationship many people have with food and food and their children, or poor understanding of how to cook/buy cheap nutrtious meals.

so no I don't think it is always neglect but given the life long health and emotional issue that these kids will be left with and the fact they are likely to die youI do think that it these parents need to given serious support and advice. And if they fail to act upon advice given it could be viewed as neglect.

Al0uiseG Sun 12-Jun-11 17:44:59

I want to agree with the op but having a brother who was verging on obese I have to disagree. He was definitely spoiled and mollycoddled but definitely not neglected. As he's got older he's also been diagnosed with Coeliacs and I wonder if the early obesity triggered it or was the cause?

sodiumion Sun 12-Jun-11 17:45:14

My cousin is obese. She is 6y/o and over 8 stone. I do believe she is already in "the system" as she has been referred to a dietician and food therapist. I agree that her mother is neglectful (and also a bit of a fruit loop in other ways). She leaves her in the care of elderly relatives who forget she has eaten and feed her again sad

I have no answers though, just wanted to give an example that supports your AIBU... sad

PlanetEarth Sun 12-Jun-11 17:45:28

I kind of agree (dons hard hat).

However, it's pretty rare to see obese children whose parents are a healthy weight. So maybe the parents don't notice? Seems like in some families, being fat is normalised.

And before people jump on me saying that it's down to genetics, or health issues - where were all these obese families 20 years ago? There are no obese kids in my school photos, but in my daughter's class (same age as my old school pics) there are certainly a few.

Bananamash Sun 12-Jun-11 17:45:47


I always feel so sorry for obese children, it's so sad and almost always the parents fault (yes there are SOME cases where it is due to physical problems, but come on, a small proportion!)

thursday Sun 12-Jun-11 17:45:50

i expect it will become much harder as they get older and have their own money and time away from the house etc. but massively overweight pre schoolers? yes it's absolutely something that should be raised with the parents. and as far as i know it is. someone i know with a very very obese child has been referred to dieticians etc for a couple of years.

Hatesponge Sun 12-Jun-11 17:47:12

Yabu and completely bloody stupid.

I have one child who is obese and another who is underweight. Should I be expecting SS to intervene because I am clearly underfeeding one and overfeeding the other? hmm

tralalala Sun 12-Jun-11 17:48:03

Tee it is those sort of semantics that mean everyone is to scared to do anything. every year at school we have a parent of one of the kids that is overweight have a squinny because they recieve a 'your kid is overweight ;etter'...oh no their not they always say but they are often, and they need to look at their childs lifestyle.
If their child is very active, eats good healthy food and little shit then worry not, but most the times this is not the case around here.

MumblingRagDoll Sun 12-Jun-11 17:49:09

YANBU it riles me that a huely overweight child is all too often left with the parents...if it were too thin it would be removed. Both pose serious health risks.

tralalala Sun 12-Jun-11 17:49:24

semantics may be totally the wrong word..I'm working on 5 hours sleep thanks to baby that is determined to drink herself to obesity

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