American Child, Over 200 lbs., is Seized by State of Ohio for Obesity Abuse
November 28, 2011 7:45 AM
Medical experts say intervention is needed but disagree on implementation
A Cleveland, Ohio youth is making national headlines after he became the first case in state history (by officials' recollection) of state officials
taking a child away
from his parent(s)' on grounds of obesity.
I. Can U.S. Local Gov'ts Stop Obesity by Seizing Children?
Obesity in America has had a serious effect on numerous technology fields outside fundamental medicine, including raising
new engineering challenges for transportation safety engineers
, and making it
harder to meet strict fuel economy standards
. Geneticists hope to one day
find a "cure"
to the obesity epidemic, but for now good old fashioned diet and exercise are still the standard prescription.
But perhaps its most tragic effects have been in terms of premature disease in morbidly obese children.
The youth in this story is an eight-years-old, according to reports, and currently an honor roll student in third grade. He weighed in excess of 200 lb. (>90 kg) when he was taken from his mother. For his age and gender, the median weight (in body mass index terms) is roughly 14.8 kg/m
, according to widely available charts [
]. That means that to be a normal weight, the boy would have roughly 8 feet (2.45 m) tall.
While the state health department estimates 12 percent of third graders in Ohio to be severely obese -- 1,380 in Cuyahoga County, the boy's home region, alone -- it says that no other children have been seized.
Ohio's childhood obesity rate of 12 percent is actually below the national average.
[Image Source: Fat Children Tumblr]
The process began in 2010 when the child received treatment for sleep apnea, a potentially fatal obesity-related disorder. The child was prescribed a machine to help him breathe at night. Meanwhile the child's mother was strictly instructed to help him lose weight as part of a "protective supervision" program by county social workers.
The boy's mother bought him a bike and encouraged him to exercise, and it seemed to work. The boy lost some weight. But then he quickly gained it back. The mother blames a sibling and friends for giving him their extra food. She says when she became of aware of this, she tried to stop it, but by then it was too late.
While the county did not have an official policy on how to deal with extremely obese children, it decided to take away the boy after the sudden weight gain. Mary Louise Madigan, a spokeswoman for the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services comments to a local newspaper,
The Plains Observer
, "This child's problem was so severe that we had to take custody."
Juvenile Public Defender Sam Amata, also interviewed by the local newspaper, wasn't so sure that seizure was the best option. He states, "I think we would concede that some intervention is appropriate. But what risk became imminent? When did it become an immediate problem?"
II. Idea has Support From Some Prominent Academics
On the other Dr. David Ludwig -- a top obesity expert -- and Lindsey Murtagh, a renowned lawyer and researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health, recently wrote in a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that extreme obesity in children in many cases was symptomatic of destructive parenting and that children needed to be taken away in extreme cases to protect them.
The study, entitled "
State Intervention in Life-Threatening Childhood Obesity
", states, "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."
The study provoked controversy in a nation where one in three adults and over one in six children are clinically obese [
Obesity rates in America have skyrocketed to epidemic proportions. [Image Source: CDC]
Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics and medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that the JAMA study was short-sighted because the government cannot hope to tackle
America's chronic obesity epidemic
via the protective services/foster care system.
He comments, "A 218-pound 8-year-old is a time bomb. But the government cannot raise these children. A third of kids are fat. We aren't going to move them all to foster care. We can't afford it, and I'm not sure there are enough foster parents to do it. "
Further complicated the bioethics issue is the fact that a great deal of research points to
genetics playing a role
in obesity in children and adults.
III. Should the government have a role in the obesity epidemic?
The local government's stand and other similar cases are also drawing criticism as hypocritical at a time when school lunches are considered "unhealthy" by many medical experts. While President Obama and the first lady have made healthier school lunches a top priority with their much touted "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act", a 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture audit revealed
only 20 percent of schools
[PDF] to be following fat guidelines.
Four out of five schools violate federal school lunch fat guidelines.
[Image Source: Growing a Green Family]
As for the boy's mother, she is understandably upset. In her interview with the local newspaper she shares that she feels villainized by county officials. She comments, "They are trying to make it seem like I am unfit, like I don't love my child. Of course I love him. Of course I want him to lose weight. It's a lifestyle change, and they are trying to make it seem like I am not embracing that. It is very hard, but I am trying."
The boy has reportedly lost a few pounds in the last month, reversing the trend of recent gains. But the foster parent he's been temporarily assigned to has reportedly been having trouble keeping up with his medical appointments. As a result the county hopes to move him to a new foster home and possible assign a dedicated personal trainer -- at local taxpayer expense -- to help the youth lose weight.
Next month the mother's lawyers and the state will plead their cases at a preliminary hearing. The final trial is set for the child's 9th birthday, before a Juvenile Court magistrate.
Cleveland Plains Dealer
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
New Weight-Loss Drug Reduces Body Weight in Monkeys, Mice
November 14, 2011, 11:42 AM
Gene "KLF14" Acts as Switch for Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity
May 16, 2011, 11:54 AM
World Has Grown Much, Much Fatter: Obesity Doubles in 30 Years
February 4, 2011, 11:03 AM
Americans' Large Girth is Weighing Down Fuel Efficiency, Compromising Safety
August 12, 2010, 2:02 PM
Study: Obese Men in Greater Danger During Car Crashes
April 6, 2010, 8:43 AM
PIQ ROBOTTM reveals its new artificial intelligence software
November 29, 2016, 12:59 AM
One more time - Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone Around the World
November 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Google’s Smart Contact Lens Project gets halted for 2016
November 20, 2016, 7:00 AM
Cell Research Study shows African Americans have greater immune response to infection
November 10, 2016, 1:00 AM
UTHealth Clinical Trial Shows Progress Using Stem Cells to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
November 8, 2016, 1:00 AM
Uber Partners with Circulation to Pilot Program Connecting Transportation and Digital Health Care
November 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Most Popular Articles
What Can You Do with Your New Echo Dot?
December 3, 2016, 5:00 AM
Google has developed Deep Learning Algorithm to detect Diabetic Eye Disease
December 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Microsoft Surface – Which Surface is Right for You?
December 2, 2016, 5:00 AM
The iPlugmate is an Excellent iPhone Flash Drive at a Great Price. (Deal Expires in 3 Days)
November 23, 2016, 1:00 AM
Foscam R2 Home Security Camera System – High Quality High FHD Security Video Footage with No Monthly Fees
December 1, 2016, 2:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Latest Tech News
Dec 8, 2016, 5:11 AM
In The News
Dec 7, 2016, 5:00 AM
e Guide: Mobile Security for 2017
Dec 6, 2016, 5:00 AM
Apple Car is Not Dead
Dec 5, 2016, 1:00 AM
Dec 4, 2016, 5:00 AM
Dec 3, 2016, 5:00 AM
Dec 2, 2016, 5:00 AM
Surface Ergonomic Keyboard
Dec 1, 2016, 3:01 AM
Chapeconense plane crash: Football rallies around Brazilian Team
Nov 30, 2016, 1:00 AM
How to Extends Your iPhone’s Battery Life
Nov 29, 2016, 12:49 AM
Nov 28, 2016, 1:12 AM
News: Fidel Castro
Nov 27, 2016, 5:00 AM
Nov 26, 2016, 5:00 AM
Changes in Social status affect the way genes turn on and off within immune cells.
Nov 25, 2016, 5:12 AM
Austrian far–right hopeful Hofer may back EU vote.
Nov 24, 2016, 4:00 AM
Final Fantasy XV Leaked Before Nov 29 Launch Date
Nov 23, 2016, 1:00 AM
Nov 22, 2016, 2:26 AM
Nov 21, 2016, 1:00 AM
HTC Makes Big Moves in China
Nov 20, 2016, 2:00 AM
Do you know who is the number one company in the word?
Nov 19, 2016, 5:30 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information