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200-pound child removed from home over health concerns

As we noted in a recent post, it’s becoming more common for children’s obesity to be a central issue in child custody disputes. The issue has seen renewed interest because of a case in another state that is raising eyebrows.

A boy was apparently removed from his mother’s custody and placed in foster care last month because he is severely obese. The 8-year-old boy is 200 pounds, while average boys his age weigh about 60 pounds.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the boy was removed after county case workers determined his mother hadn’t done enough to control his weight, something they view as a form of medical neglect. They say they are concerned the boy could develop complications that are typical of obesity, including diabetes and high blood pressure.

The boy was originally taken to the hospital early last year after he had breathing problems. He was ultimately diagnosed with sleep apnea, which was likely related to his weight.

A judge apparently approved the removal, which was recommended by the Children and Family Services agency. One administrator says they worked with the family for 20 months before making the decision to place the boy in foster care.

One expert notes that while the parents are ultimately responsible for a child’s health, society certainly plays a big part in it too.

This controversial practice is likely to crop up again and again. About 2 million people in this country are “extremely obese,” meaning they weigh much more than what is traditionally considered healthy.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Ohio officials take 200-pound boy from mother,” Thomas J. Sheeran, Nov. 29, 2011

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