Should the state take custody of obese kids for their own good? First I think the state should stop funding Harvard:
Should parents of extremely obese children lose custody for not controlling their kids’ weight? A provocative commentary in one of the nation’s most distinguished medical journals argues yes, and its authors are joining a quiet chorus of advocates who say the government should be allowed to intervene in extreme cases.
It has happened a few times in the U.S., and the opinion piece in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association says putting children temporarily in foster care is in some cases more ethical than obesity surgery.
Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, said 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.
“Despite the discomfort posed by state intervention, it may sometimes be necessary to protect a child,” Murtagh said.
What’s next after obese kids? Will the state take custody of kids who are being taught the “wrong things” in the home? Kids that are too thin? Kids that aren’t yet fat but have shown a penchant for Twinkies?
If kids need to be taught to be responsible, not bite off more than they should chew and be wary of pork, letting the government get their mitts on them is probably the worst thing that could happen.
But there’s one universal truth that could hinder the state’s plans:
Update: Glenn Reynolds says that because obesity rates are higher in poor minority areas, the Harvard duo’s suggestion is clearly racist. Heh.