27 November 2011

In re.: State Intervention for Obesity

Source: CBS News (27 Nov 2011)

Synopsis: An eight year-old Ohio boy, allegedly weighing about 200 pounds, was placed into foster care based on allegations the parent(s) were not doing enough to control his obesity. 

Comment: I have some very mixed feelings on this, in part because the news report is so incomplete.  It is very difficult to imagine an 8 y/o reaching 200 pounds and there NOT be an underlying medical problem that goes above/beyond dieting, such as a metabolic disorder.  Also, I believe reasonable minds, even among doctors, would disagree regarding the nature and extent of the medical intervention that will be needed under the circumstances.  Ultimately, the state would have the burden of proof of showing that parental neglect had occurred, and in my view, it's going to require expert medical testimony, or at minimum, proof of some egregious acts on the part of the parent(s) that would directly cause the weight gain.  --SJR

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