way of managing the US’s childhood obesity
crisis could be to remove the most
severely overweight kids from their parents, argues a Harvard obesity expert
and pediatrics professor in a controversial commentary published on Tuesday in
the Journal of the American Medical Association. His recommendation to consign
extremely obese children facing life-threatening complications to foster care
is jarring, but it has happened a few times. As a temporary solution it might
help prevent serious health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, liver problems
and sleep apnea in some of the 2 million or so highly obese children in the US,
David Ludwig says.
intervention may serve the best interests of many children with
life-threatening obesity, comprising the only realistic way to control harmful
behaviors,” Ludwig and attorney Lindsey Murtagh, a Harvard public-health
researcher. Since situations involving the undernourishment of children have
often been defined as child abuse, why not over-nourishment?
Art Caplan, of the University of Pennsylvania, rejects the idea. “Our laws give
enormous authority to parents and rightly so,” he writes in a commentary
for MSNBC. “The only basis for compelling medical treatment against a
parent's wishes are [sic] if a child is at imminent risk of death — meaning
days or hours — and a proven cure exists for what threatens to kill them.
Obesity does not pass these requirements.” ~ TIME, Jul 13