Junkfood Science: Being a fat child a criminal offense

January 27, 2007

Being a fat child a criminal offense

This is an example of the incomprehensible harm that results when myths — in this case about childhood obesity and its causes and dangers — are allowed to perpetuate; and when the myths of the effectiveness and safety of weight loss measures are allowed to persist.

This is a worst case example of what can happen when science is disregarded. The Times UK reports:

‘Fat police’ put children on abuse list

SOCIAL workers are placing obese children on the child protection register alongside victims thought to be at risk of sexual or physical abuse. In extreme cases children have been placed in foster care because their parents have contributed to the health problems of their offspring by failing to respond to medical advice.

The intervention of social services in what was previously regarded as a private matter is likely to raise concerns about the emergence of the “fat police.” Some doctors even advocate taking legal action against parents for ill treating their children by feeding them so much that they develop health problems.

Dr Russell Viner, a consultant paediatrician at Great Ormond Street and University College London hospitals, said: “In my practice, I can think of about 10 or 15 cases in which child protection action has been taken because of obesity. We now constantly get letters from social workers about child protection due to childhood obesity.”...

Dr Alyson Hall, consultant child psychiatrist at the Emmanuel Miller Centre for Families and Children in east London, said that in some cases children were put into foster care to ensure their safety....

Earlier this month two brothers were convicted of causing unnecessary suffering by letting their dog become obese. The labrador, Rusty, was 11 stone, more than double the weight he should have been, and could hardly stand. “We wonder whether the same charge should be applicable to the parents of dangerously obese children,” said Dr Tom Solomon, a neurologist at Royal Liverpool University hospital....

Tam Fry, chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, a charity that fights childhood obesity, agreed. “It should be a punishable offence,” he said. “Very obese children are taking up NHS resources that should be used for legitimate purposes. Parents have got to be held accountable for overfeeding their children or letting their children become fat without taking action.”...

There is only one word for this news story:

Prejudice --

1. injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one's rights; especially detriment to one's legal rights or claims

2 a. preconceived judgment or opinion; an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge

b. an instance of such judgment or opinion

c. an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

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