Should extremely obese children be taken into care?

| 16/08/2012

013_small_world.ce_.jpg(BBC): Does allowing a child to become morbidly obese qualify as child abuse? Some health and social care professionals believe it is a question that needs to be considered more seriously. Just a few months ago, the town of Aberdare in South Wales, was the scene of a dramatic rescue. A 19-year-old girl was pulled from her house by a crew of fire fighters – not because of a fire, but because she weighed more than 50 stone (318kg). The girl needed urgent medical treatment but could not fit through the front door of her house and so a wall was knocked down so she could be taken to hospital.

Medics and social workers were on standby to give the girl much needed support, but the question some people have asked is why social workers did not take preventative measures – such as taking the girl into care when she was younger – before such extreme action was needed?

The question of whether extreme obesity is a child protection issue is a sensitive subject, but one which is gaining traction with some health and social care professionals.
"It is my view that child obesity should be treated as a form of child mistreatment, as any type of under-feeding is," says Joanna Nicholas, a child protection consultant who has been a social worker for 17 years.

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