11 September 2007

Suboptimal parenting: full stop

Monday's Daily Mail:

Three children have been removed from their parents and taken into care because they are too fat, it has emerged. The youngsters were separated from their families because of fears that their weight was getting out of control. ...
Doctors and health professionals argue that obesity — which can cause heart disease, liver conditions, diabetes and respiratory illness — is as much a threat to children's health as malnutrition.
Dr Colin Waine, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, said: "What we should be doing is monitoring children from birth so we can detect any deviations from the norm at an early stage and action can be taken. ... But if the parents refuse to collaborate and the child becomes obese, I consider that a form of child abuse ..."
At the British Medical Association's conference in June, doctors put forward a motion calling for the parents of obese children under 12 to be targeted under child protection laws. Dr Matthew Capehorn, a GP from Rotherham, said: "If you are faced with a child who is severely undernourished alarm bells would be ringing. But the same approach is not taken when faced by a child who is obese."

What is likely to happen if agents of the collective are given discretionary powers to decide who is 'at risk' and what constitutes 'abuse'? Answer: expansion of those powers to the point where no one is safe from intervention.

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