Junkfood Science: No fat children allowed

June 13, 2007

No fat children allowed

Families of fat children being reported to child protective services is becoming increasingly more common here in America. But a doctor in Scotland has called upon the British Medical Association to consider fat children as evidence of parental neglect, and that their parents be prosecuted and the children taken under custody by authorities.

This story is especially disturbing in light of the new guidelines for managing fat children released here in the United States last week jointly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the American Medical Association, which makes weight loss compulsory until all children conform with the government-approved size and shape.

While those guidelines made no note of enforcement, could this be the “or else” for our children, too? —

Prosecute parents of obese children for neglect, says doctor

OBESITY in children under 12 should be considered parental neglect, a doctor claims....In the worst cases, he said, social services should be called in if a child's health was at risk because of their weight. Dr Capehorn will call on other doctors to support his claims with a motion for the British Medical Association conference in Torquay later this month....

“If you are faced with a child who is severely under-nourished, alarm bells would be ringing. Social services, doctors and other authorities would be involved at a very easy stage because of concerns about the care being provided by the parents. But the same approach is not taken when faced by a child who is obese. I would say that having a child who is overweight poses as much a danger to their health as a child who is suffering malnutrition, or arguably more risk."

Dr Capehorn said that parents should be educated on how to improve the diet of their children, but if they consistently failed to act on this advice then the authorities should be called in.... Dr Capehorn said that if the threat of legal protection was put in place, parents would be more likely to take their child's weight seriously....

The News said that doctors are “calling for the government to enact stricter child protection laws and take action against the parents of obese children under 12” and that they should be considered guilty of neglect. It added: “Other motions include a ban on advertisement of unhealthy foods to children; government regulation of schools to provide more opportunities and safer places for recreation; and a reduction of salt, sugar, and hydrogenated fats to pre-prepared food.”

We would need no other evidence of just how strong the social morality of health and wellness has become than if healthcare professionals and consumers fail to resist these unsound measures en masse. The soundest research for more than half a century has shown that obesity is not caused by “unhealthy” eating or sloth; that fat and thin children and adults eat and act no differently — and not nearly as badly as is being sold in media; that our children have never been healthier; and that no childhood obesity intervention has ever been able to show long-term effectiveness, only harm. The new guidelines for managing weights, diets and activities of U.S. children is a turning point in our country — a test of science over beliefs and agendas.

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