International Business is reporting that Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity expert at Children's Hospital Boston, and Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard's School of Public Health, wrote in an editorial that removing an obese child from the home should be legal in some cases.
"State intervention may serve the best interests of many children with life-threatening obesity, comprising the only realistic way to control harmful behaviors," the co-authors wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "In severe instances of childhood obesity, removal from the home may be justifiable from a legal standpoint because of imminent health risks and the parents' chronic failure to address medical problems."
Ludwig and Murtagh aren't talking about just any obese children but, rather, those with serious problems. They are talking about the 2 million children in the United States who have a body mass index at or above the 99th percentile.
The doctors point out that every state has a law that government authorities can step in when a child is being starved or neglected, but only a handful have any legislation regarding overnourishment and severe obesity. Those states include California, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Removing kids from the only home and the parents they know does not seem like a good idea. No, we don't want kids dying or having debilitating diseases that could be prevented with healthier eating, but taking a child away from his or her parents seems extreme. However, getting in front of the issue of childhood obesity seems to be in order, particularly in the case of extreme obesity. It seems that the parents and child should receive mandatory counseling and help from a dietitian. Start there — not at taking children from their parents.
Read more at the International Business Times.
In other news: GOP Split on Debt-Ceiling Solution; Obama Walks Out.