Is Childhood Obesity Severe Enough to be Neglect?

The state of Ohio thinks so. An 8 year old boy weighing 200lbs was removed from his mother’s care recently, and placed with Department of Children and Family Services.  His mother, whose name has not yet been released, says she has been trying to make the lifestyle change to help him lose weight, but it is a difficult change.

The reasoning behind the removal of this boy is based on a medical condition he has acquired. He has had breathing problems, and at one point was monitored and treated for sleep apnea. After that hospitalization, he lost some weight, but gained it back not long after. Social workers, concerned that his obesity was negatively affecting his health, made the decision to request that the boy be taken from his mother.

So far, no one is saying that the boy’s obesity is not a concern. No one is saying that obesity does not lead to health problems. But no one is saying that other options have been tried, either.

Another crowd from whom the silence is deafening is the child psychologist crowd. No word on how it will affect an 8 year old boy, being taken from his mother because he is too fat. Everyone is concerned, with reason, about his physical health. But what about his mental health? What goes through the mind of an 8 year old when he looks in the mirror and sees 200lbs? What goes through his mind when that mirror, instead of being in his own bedroom in his mother’s home, is in a foster home or group home, because he was too fat for his mother to be allowed to keep him?

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One Response to Is Childhood Obesity Severe Enough to be Neglect?

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