If you have an obese child, are you a neglectful parent?

fat#And if you are yourself obese are you a neglectful parent as well? Well, in the case of a Scottish mother of six , yes you are. Social workers have moved to take into care a baby born to an obese mother who gave birth to her sixth child last week. The mother cannot be named for the protection of her children’s identity.She had already had another two of her six kids taken away because social workers feared that they were at risk of becoming obese. The 40-year-old mother weighed 322 pounds before falling pregnant. Do you think this was an extreme move or do you think those kids need protection form their obese mother?

In South Carolina Jerri Gray lost custody of her 14-year-old, 555 pound son Alexander in May. She was arrested after missing a court date to examine whether she should retain custody after doctors had expressed concern about her son’s weight to social services. Ms. Gray is facing criminal child-neglect charges.

When she was asked for an explanation as to how her son got so dangerously obese, she said she had to work full-time second and third shifts and that she would often buy fast food for Alexander because she didn’t have time to cook.

In this blog,  Michele Catalano questions whether allowing your child top get to that stage of obesity is a crime. And in this blog Patricia Love discusses how obese parents teach their kids obesity .

Do you think that parents who have obese children are criminals? Are they the only ones to blame? If you’re a parent, do you struggle to make your child eat a healthy diet? Do you think this is just a Western problem or do you know of people who have the same problems in other countries around the world?

22 Responses to “If you have an obese child, are you a neglectful parent?”

  1. 1 Bert
    October 22, 2009 at 00:18

    I’m sure that “it depends.”

    In some cases, no question but that the parents are fostering the obesity in their child or children, through bad family eating habits and demonstrating/accepting sedentary lifestyles. This is not hard to see, out in public.

    Other times, though, the kids are “rebelling,” for one reason or other, and take on the bad habits on their own. And it’s not always clear how to get through to such kids, as all parents probably know (or fear may happen to them).

    I would have no trouble at all pointing out examples of these two scenarios.

    Possibly, maybe, there is also some hereditary gene that makes it so people don’t stop eating and snacking, even after they are full.

  2. 2 Kassandra
    October 22, 2009 at 01:29

    The parents are as much to blame as are the producers of fast food products. If a parent feeding their child fast food and deliberately neglecting him or her to the point of morbid obesity, how can then the producers of this so-called “food” be left beyond any kind of reproach? Fast food has been proven detrimental to human health – a fact which should be enough to outlaw these type of establishments. It is not only the deep-frying, the high trans-fat and sugar content, but the modified, processed nature of the products that wreak havoc on delicate human chemistry. It alters the normal metabolic processes of the body and, therefore, just like drugs, should be considered illegal and criminal.
    Before the North American way of life made its way into all the parts of the world, obesity from the consumption of processed and modified foods has been a strictly North American one. Now, however, as more and more fast food chains are being imported in other countries, together with North American capitalist system and its respective value system – we are witnessing a dramatic change not only in body size, but also in the mentality of the populace of those countries. These North American exportations disfigure not only the body ,but also the mind and the soul and the prospects are truly worrisome.

  3. 3 Tom K in Mpls
    October 22, 2009 at 05:06

    This one isn’t easy. Not because of the ‘blame’, but what to do about it. I feel the burden or credit always goes to the parent. But giving the government this much power over our lives is wrong for several reasons. I think the best thing is to charge them appropriately more for health care to take the load off of society. Then let Darwin’s theory take over and hope they don’t breed to spread both the physical and social traits. Harsh, practical and sad. Hey, life ain’t fair.

  4. 4 john
    October 22, 2009 at 06:47

    an unhealthy lifestyle is not the only cause of obesity.however parents who let their children get obese due to pooor diet should be charged since health is about life.

  5. October 22, 2009 at 10:16

    Who else’s fault could it be beside the parents? Who has paid for the food that has made the child obese? It will be rare obese child whose parents are not also obese.

    Fifty years ago a truly obese person was a rare site, and being overweight was usually a sign of prosperity. Back then obese persons were rare oddities that you might see at a circus or read about in “Believe it or Not.”

    What these parents are feeding their kids is hydrogenated vegetable oil. Fast food is full of it. Chips and candy, cookies and cakes, and most breads use it. Combine the billions of tons of junk food with the rise of paranoia that has come with the television, that has caused parents to keep their kids indoors after school, and to drive them to and from school, and it is easy to see why so many are overweight.

  6. 6 Mandy Robertson
    October 22, 2009 at 10:27

    Well if the child has a medical condition then the answer would be no! But if there is no medical condition and it’s because of the child’s diet then yes the parents should be punished as it is neglect!! It’s no different to starving a child or living in a filthy environment, you are the parent therefore you are responsible for your child’s health and well being!! babies are not programmed to like junk food, it’s down to providing a wide range of healthy home cooked meals, it is not difficult, i have 3 kids all of whom are at a healthy weight for their height and age, yes they eat chips and crisps but there is a limit and they do eat fruit and veg and proper home cooked meals!! It’s my responsibilty as their mum to ensure that they learn a healthy lifestyle to take into their adulthood and teach to their own children one day!!! If everyone did this then obese children would be a thing of the past!!!

  7. 7 patti in cape coral
    October 22, 2009 at 12:52

    “If you have an obese child, are you a neglectful parent?”

    It depends on the cause of the obesity.

  8. October 22, 2009 at 13:46

    Nonsense! So if the child take drugs, becomes an alcoholic or have a sexually transmitted disease, it is the fault of the parents? Please…

    • 9 Tom K in Mpls
      October 22, 2009 at 16:08

      That would generally be true. But the age that is occurs at would be the practical decider in your example.

    • 10 James Ian
      October 23, 2009 at 06:29

      Well, I guess if the kids are getting the drugs and alcohol from the parent then they hold some culpability. OR if the parent sits Idly by as the child engages in the distructve behavior. But I think more to the issue and the point is when by example the parent leads the child to those vices.

  9. 11 gary
    October 22, 2009 at 14:37

    The exact level of parental responsibility could possibly be determined on case-by-case basis. Neglectful might be criminally negligent is some cases and merely unwise in others. However, given the psychological and physical maladies influenced by body mass index, neglectful never ameliorates to “wise.”

  10. 12 Jennifer
    October 22, 2009 at 14:51

    Parents have a responsibility to their children. A responsibility to teach them good habits and set a good example. This is hard for some parents because they do not have healthy eating habits. We live in a world where food is everywhere. It’s not McDonalds fault that some people go more than they should. Parents are responsible for their children!

    Think of the little boy recently denied health insurance because he was overweight. He wasn’t eating McDonalds. He was breastfed and was otherwise a healthy growing baby. It would be wrong to deny him food.

    I don’t think the government should be taking people’s kids away from them.

  11. 13 nora
    October 22, 2009 at 15:17

    Your graphic bespeaks a common attitude towards large people–show them without heads or feet. I have several friends who have struggled with weight their whole lives and they fall into two categories: people with obese parents and genetic issues, and victims of terrible sex crimes. I think criminalizing obesity is a foolish use of state power.

  12. 14 jens
    October 22, 2009 at 17:46

    in 99% of cases of obisity the f=diagnosis is “YOU EAT TOO MUCH”, but obese [people do not like to hear that. So the have a slow metabolism, big bones, hyperactive glands, some phsycological disorders et etc. the cure of obesity is simple, eat less and be active. i am shocked at the 500 pound people using electric carts in walmart to get their hands on super saver bags of doughnuts and frozen crap…..when i look at their carts I know why the are overweight, crap food and no activity.

    you look at families where everybody is morbidly obese, and it is crystal clear that it is the parents who stuff their kids faces with high fructose syrup and fat ladden garbbage. yes they are responsible.

  13. 15 Ace
    October 22, 2009 at 19:06

    Quite simply yes.

    When you see overweight parents with their overweight kids eating at McDonalds, the answer becomes obvious.

    Yes, being overweight can be hereditary, but that just means parents should be trying even harder.

    It’s an obvious parental responsibility to teach children how to look after themselves

  14. 16 Ronald Almeida
    October 22, 2009 at 19:13

    Parents in India generally believe fat children to be healthier. May be because there is so much starvation all around.

  15. 17 Lee
    October 22, 2009 at 19:40

    Change obese for depressed. Poor self esteem is often a factor in both. Parents can influence their kids for good and bad. I think this is a complex issue for society.

  16. 18 Dennis Junior
    October 23, 2009 at 11:58

    **Do you think this was an extreme move or do you think those kids need protection form their obese mother?**

    Honestly, NO…I don’t think it is an extreme move because it, was done to protect these kids from a potential hazardous situation…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  17. 19 Sefah Ato Welbeck
    October 23, 2009 at 16:21

    Hm!there is a typical statement,that,’Today’s world is a world where obese is endemic’,and i really think this statement is akin to saying that the world has prospered.But,that isn’t the case,hunger is prevalent.I think saying that a parent is a neglectful type simply because their child is obese is very wrong and the government extending its power to ‘discustodize’is too extreme,and ought to be analyse critically because this is a two way issue.I know of obese parent whose children are very thin,and in this wise do you also say that the parent are not all that caring a parent,no.The world is not changed in the face of obesity underpinned by overnutrition,if you like.Economically the blame must be put on both the consumer and the producer and the government itself who has being the sole importer of some junkly-riched foods.Nowadays,should you be a farmer who wants to call ‘market’ for your produce,then,i guess you need to adulterate it in the very least possible method lest you loose,and these chemicals themselves tend to pose a great threat to both the farmer and the world.I think all are to be blameed.Lastly,i totally disagree that any well-educated parent will see their child eating uselessly and putting on weight in which you know the implicatons associated to putting on weight more than you should.

  18. November 4, 2009 at 23:34

    When comes to an obese, relatives or family should really understand that this epidemic is something that the whole family have to face together. Lack of morale on the obese usually become a huge obstacle, therefore family and relatives should “hugs” and bring them back to family circle, and start fight back.

  19. 21 nosaltplease
    November 14, 2009 at 12:00

    If you avoid salt and salty food you will rapidly and safely lose excess weight, because reducing salt/sodium intake reduces the fluid retention which all overweight people have and which is the reason they are overweight in the first place.

    Lose weight by eating less salt! – Go on! – Try it! – You will feel so much better!
    The site does not sell anything and has no banners or sponsors or adverts – just helpful information.

  20. 22 Renee
    November 25, 2009 at 20:43

    It is not the parents fault that there kids wont stop eating , kids like to eat some don’t even ask to eat they just take it , but parents should not be blamed for this .

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