Fat children ‘should be taken from parents’ to curb obesity epidemic
Council warning to families guilty of neglectJill Sherman, Whitehall Editor
Grossly overweight children may be taken from their families and put into care if Britain’s obesity epidemic continues to escalate, council chiefs said yesterday.
The Local Government Association argued that parents who allowed their children to eat too much could be as guilty of neglect as those who did not feed their children at all.
The association said that until now there had been only a few cases when social services had intervened in obesity cases. But it gave warning that local councils may have to take action much more often and, if necessary, put obese children on “at risk” registers or take them into care. It called for new guidelines to be drawn up to help authorities deal with the issue.
There have been some reported cases where children under 10 have weighed up to 14st (89kg) and a three-year-old has weighed 10st – putting them at a high risk of diabetes and heart disease. Only last week a 15-year-old girl in Wales was told by doctors that she could “drop dead at any moment” after tipping the scales at 33st.
David Rogers, the Local Government Association’s public health spokesman, said that by 2012 an estimated million children would be obese and by 2025 about a quarter of all boys would be grossly overweight.
“Councils are increasingly having to consider taking action where parents are putting children’s health in real danger,” he said. “As the obesity epidemic grows, these tricky cases will keep on cropping up. Councils would step in to deal with an undernourished and neglected child, so should a case with a morbidly obese child be different? If parents consistently place their children at risk through bad diet and lack of exercise, is it right that a council should step in to keep the child’s health under review?”