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America's Obese Children in Foster Care

In July of 2011, the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that "allowing children to be placed in foster care is in some cases is more ethical than obesity surgery."... Wow. *There are 20 documented cases in the U.K. of obese children placed in foster care.

It is disappointing that Americans have allowed their kids to get to this extreme (in some cases), but is it really surprising to anybody??? I mean I think this may be the first generation where a toddler's first words may be.... "happy meal".

In my research I found these statistics:

Some studies show up to 50 percent of American children are not getting enough exercise (Taras, 1992). Research also indicates that: 40 percent of five- to eight-year-olds show at least one heart disease risk factor, including elevated cholesterol, hypertension, and obesity; the first signs of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) are appearing at about age five; the number of overweight children has doubled in the last decade and one out of seven low-income preschoolers in America is obese.

Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, states, "the point isn’t to blame parents, but rather to act in children’s best interest and get them help that for whatever reason their parents can’t provide." State intervention “ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting,” said Ludwig, who wrote the article with Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and a researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health.

Ludwig said "He starting thinking about the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl came to his obesity clinic several years ago. Her parents had physical disabilities, little money and difficulty controlling her weight. Last year, at age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed diabetes, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Out of medical concern, the state placed this girl in foster care, where she simply received three balanced meals a day and a snack or two and moderate physical activity." After a year, she lost 130 pounds. Though she is still obese, her diabetes and apnea disappeared; she remains in foster care, he said.

An opinion article in 2009 from Pediatrics wrote a similar article. Those writers indicated that temporary removal from the home would be warranted “when all reasonable alternative options have been exhausted.”

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