Parents who fail to help an obese child eat and exercise properly, ignoring all advice and guidance, could be guilty of neglect, child health experts say today.Because, no doubt, they’ve resolved all other issues of child protection, and so can now devote time to this. No-one beats their children, starves their children, abuses their children any more…
Dr Russell Viner and colleagues from the UCL Institute of Child Health in London say that the weight of a child by itself is not a reason for child protection staff to get involved.So, if you don’t listen to the ‘experts’ and take their well-meaning advice, they’ll make you do so.
But in an article on what they accept is a potentially contentious issue, published online today by the British Medical Journal, they suggest that it may be appropriate to consider the child protection register if the parents consistently fail to change the family's lifestyle and will not engage with outside help.
"Parental failure to provide their children with adequate treatment for a chronic illness (asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc) is a well accepted reason for a child protection registration for neglect," they write.Hmm, really?
So, when can we see the social services knocking down the doors of people who refuse cochlear implants for their deaf children?
Viner said it was difficult to establish when obesity shaded into neglect and became an issue for child protection, because the pressure on everyone to eat too much and exercise too little were (sic) so powerful.Funny! I can’t remember the last advert that suggested I should eat too much and take no exercise at all. Maybe they are subliminal?
Pretty certain no-one in my circle of friends and family ever greeted me with ‘Ooh, you’ve put on weight, haven’t you? Well done! Put on some more!’. So what ‘pressure’ is he talking about?
Still, maybe it’s all for the best. Maybe if these ‘experts’ get a chance to raise children, they’ll turn out perfec…
"Removing children from their parents may not help obesity. There are few data on the weight of children in public care," they say. A recent study found that 37% of children in care were overweight or obese – but almost all of them had put on weight after they were put into care.Whoops!
Maybe Viner and his pals should put their research efforts into the reasons for that, before venturing out into the wider world…