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Is this child abuse?; or genetics?

Discussion in 'Topics in Healthcare' started by ?DreamsRMadeOf, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. ?DreamsRMadeOf

    ?DreamsRMadeOf Membership Revoked
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    This boy is over 200 pounds and only 8. His mum says he wants to eat all the time, and spits out fruits and vegetables. Should she be punished for this? I don't know what to make of this. I would like to think that genetics plays a larger role, but then again, that should be more the reason to seek help and control her son's diet.

    My pediatrician always compliments my children's weight, and said that she sometimes feels as though she is running a Jenny Craig instead of a pediatric clinic. I certainly don't do anything special, my children love cookies just like any other child. I do believe this is child abuse, and I am glad to see that the government stepped in, and is working with the family to get this child healthy again. I would love to hear your comments on this.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/player/pla.../2007/02/27/van.marsh.uk.obese.kids.itn&wm=10

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/02/27/obese.child.reut/index.html
     
  2. OP
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    ?DreamsRMadeOf

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    Moderator: Could you please move this to topics in healthcare. :) Thank you.
     
  3. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away
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    Classifying this as abuse is dangerous IMHO. I was an obese child, and I am now a fully functional adult with a BMI of 24. I admit that this kid is far worse than I was, but there has to be some point in which we accept that a convergence of bad parenting and bad genetics isn't always abuse. For God's sake, they'll soon be able to take people's kids away for any reason. Better not anger anyone at child services. Oh, as to the original question, there is unquestionably a genetic AND environmental component. One without the other wouldn't be enough at his age (atleast I wouldn't think so).
     
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  4. dpmd

    dpmd Relaxing
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    If the mother was strapping the child down and forcefeeding him donuts and bacon, then you could make a case for child abuse. This sounds more like bad parenting decisions. It isn't abuse when someone doesn't make their kid play nice with others (although it can affect the rest of that child's life). So her bad decisions here shouldn't be considered abuse. It sounds like she did ask for help at some point, which is a good thing. However, even though I don't think it is abuse, I do think it is ok for education and help to be offered to this woman. The foster care system would be a lot worse for a kid (in the US, I know nothing about the British system) than a mom who won't force her kid to eat well.
     
  5. NonTradMed

    NonTradMed Perpetual Student
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    It depends on how helpful the mother has been regarding bringing her son's weight down. In my opinion, deliberately feeding a child fast food when he is so extremely obese is akin to starving a child when he is extremely underweight. In both circumstances, the child is malnourished.

    I'll accept that the mother just doens't know what to do and hope that she's getting help, but really, if she's just being neglectful and did not care what she was stuffing into her child, I don't see how this is any better than starving a child. I hope that the mother realizes that the end result for her son is an early grave unless he loses some serious weight.
     
  6. emedpa

    emedpa GlobalDoc
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    agree- we have a 10 yr old kid we see in the e.r. all the time who is > 300 lbs. I have talked to his family about it. they say his weight is important if he ever wants a career as an nfl linebacker(seriously).
    I am not this kids pcp but have sent numerous notes to the kids doc.
    he is asthmatic and prediabetic. kid may be dead by 20 if they don't fix this.
     
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  7. TCIrish03

    TCIrish03 Senior Member
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    -The original article was 2 days ago, and didn't mention the mother's depression at the time. Do people who actually suffer from depression feel like the constant bringing up of this as an excuses minimizes their own struggles?

    -Here's the Wash Post Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp- ...ntent/article/2007/02/26/AR2007022600801.html

    Then this:
    "If I didn't give him enough at teatime then he would just go on at us all night for snacks and stuff," she told ITV.

    So is it that he steals the food or that he would bug you a lot and you don't want to deal with him?? There is a big difference between the two. Quit being such a lazy parent and save your kid's life.

    -The second article then says the mother "refuses" to stop feeding him junk food. While a parent with a healthy child could get a pass with junkfood now and then, this woman's son obviously should not be given these foods for his own well-being. Either she doesn't care, or she is too lazy to do something about it. The article indicates she isn't even trying; missed appointments with nutritionists and social workers, etc. Put a frickin lock on the pantry, make sure the teachers at school see he is eating healthy, whatever it takes.This may be borderline "neglect", but not "abuse"...not yet at least.
     
  8. OP
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    ?DreamsRMadeOf

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    Wow. I can't believe it. I am out numbered 5 - 1. You all have well articulated arguments, and while I agree with all of you on various aspects, there are some things that I just cant ignore.

    I was a chubby child until 4th grade. It was evident in the family album, that my family gave me food as an appeasement :rolleyes: . In almost every photo I am holding an ice cream cone, or some other type of sweet confection. As I got considerably taller my weight issues dissappeared. However, I certainly wouldn't consider this abuse.

    But in the case of this child, as stated earlier, this is not child abuse in the traditional sense, but neglect, which is a form of child abuse. What's the difference between this boy and a child who is seriously allergic to peanut butter, and then you knowingly give him peanut butter anyway, is this not abuse?

    IMHO, for this young boy, each bite of fattening food is equivalent to feeding him arsenic, leading to a slow but untimely death. I know the gray area is that you can't say he will surely die of this. If he continues eating this way, there is a possibility that he may just be obese and nothing more.

    The mother she says she see nothing wrong, and doesn't want him to be "a skinny little runt". She is only cooperating, so she wont lose him.

    I am in favor of how the government stepped in and shook things up a little. If the mother doesn't listen, I see no harm in her son being temporarily removed to an environment that would allow for him to lose weight. Of course, she would be granted full visitation rights. Hopefully, for the sake of the child, she will strickly adhere and follow whatever advice that they offer her, in regards to her son's nutrition and exercise regimen.
     
  9. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away
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    There is a lot of harm. Have kids and then say this. It's this haphazzard sort of attitude to removing kids from their parents that I find the most scary. This is a slippery slope. TRUST ME. I personally would like to make decisions for my kids without fear of a politically motivated big brother looking over my shoulder. So my kids BMI made it to 25.1, ding ding ding ding, your kid is overweight, call child services. If this precedent were ever set here in the US (I realize that this is Britain), the belly police would be only a step behind.
     
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  10. EctopicFetus

    EctopicFetus Keeping it funky enough
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    I was a chubby kid and am a little on the heavy side however what the mom is doing (as she should be in control) is neglect. Beyong the psychiatric damamge this kid will endure there is real good data regarding how this will have ill effects on him as an adult EVEN if he loses weight as he gets older. Whats the diff between this and not giving enough nutrition? They both lead to bad outcomes in the long and short term for these kids. Look im not saying any fat kid should be taken from his mom but some standard needs to be in place. how about moms who feed their kids McDonalds 10 meals a week? Seriously.. go to Subway or something..
     
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  11. OP
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    ?DreamsRMadeOf

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    Point well taken, I have two precious ones and the thought of someone barging in my home and taking them from me is quite unsettling.This is not the case here. We are not talking about an overweight child, this child is morbidly obese. His BMI was a whopping 42.7, well above the 95Th percentile, since the warning his BMI has dropped to 38.4, still above the 95Th percentile, but a noticeable difference that shows they're headed in the right direction. I don't have a child BMI chart, if there is such a thing, but the Adult BMI charts defines 25-29.9 as overweight, and anything over 30 as obese.

    For the record, the mother was warned of what could happen, and she took the proper recourse. As a result, her son lost 21 pounds since the beginning of this year, and she was able to keep him as long as she continued this trend. If this boy could lose that much weight in such a short amount of time, then it was definitely gross neglect on her part.

    It was an agonizing ordeal, to watch this child gorge down food. I've seen wild hogs eat with more grace. He has trouble bathing and dressing himself, and admits that children constantly bully him at school. Is this fair? In addition, he's broken 4 beds, 6 toilet seats, and 5 bikes, and at only 8 he still has plenty of growing to do. Right now, he should only weigh about 91 pounds. Both the mother and grandmother admit to missing numerous hospital visits. He already has difficulty walking, and can't even manage a 7 minute stroll to school, which has contributed to his poor attendance record and missed education.
    Again, is this fair, especially to an 8 year old?

    When will we as parents, be held accountable for the development and the overall well-being of our children? I don't like "Big Brother". But this poor boy didn't have a chance. I wane at the thought of even typing out this child's daily diet.

    If the government went in and took this child, yes it's wrong. But what about the child, doesn't he have a right to a decent life? As a mother, if truly beyond the shadow of a doubt, I could not help my son, I would let someone take him that could, and explain to him this is a temporary course of action, and while he may not fully understand, it's the best thing that could happen for him, in the long run. It would be far to devastating to keep my child, watch him suffer like that.
     
  12. OP
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    ?DreamsRMadeOf

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    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: That's hilarious, but so true!
     
  13. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away
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    I understand, I just think that more harm than good comes out of something like this. I don't believe that I would let this happen to my children either. However, this really comes down to the fundamental question of who is in charge of your kids. I have to say that this HAS to be the parents. Child Services already has such a dismal track record, that I don't think that policing something as difficult to discern as how overweight is too overweight is acceptable for them. The extreme case is just a dangerous justification for getting involved in the less extreme. As I said, I had great parents, and I was an overweight kid.

    We would all like to live in an ideal world, in which everyone is a good parent, everyone is loved, everyone is healthy, and everyone gets what they need. However, a kid like this is beyond the ideal. What would they do with him if they took him? Put him in foster care? The psychological trauma of this sort of situation is every bit as harmful as the physical damage from obesity.

    I look at rules being passed all over this country and others, from proposals to have big brother monitor blood sugar for diabetics to things like this. One must question if we will have any autonomy regarding ourselves or our children. Autonomy isn't autonomy if you only get to keep it if you keep someone else happy. If anything, the destruction of autonomy is leading to LESS personal responisibility. There are an awful lot of people who do nothing to take care of themselves or their kids and then expect other people to tell them what to do. Moves like this will lower the quality of life for a lot of people while simultaneously having the opposite impact of their intended consequence in the end. Watch out for the belly police.
     
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  14. acrunchyfrog

    acrunchyfrog In memory of Riley
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    Agreed. Although in this instance the negative consequences associated with poor regard for the health of this child are clearly not serving as a motivation to the parents. Normally the thought of having a huge child looking down the barrel of a gun loaded with several life long diseases and problems associated with weight of this magnitude would serve as enough impetus to stop allowing junk food in the house at all. It's not working here.
    I don't think they should take the kid away, but wouldn't it be great if making a decision that would negatively affect the health of this child rendered a painfull electric shock to the decision making parent? How to make the parent realize they're in charge, rather than the 8 year old has been an ongoing question in this world.

    I was the fat kid who got teased non-stop from first grade to 10th grade and beyond, and the effects of that self esteem beating are still being sorted out. I'm not even overweight anymore but the emotional scars affected relationships for a long time.

    just my $.06 (adjusted for inflation)
     
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  15. Tired Pigeon

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    Has this kid been tested for Prader-Willi? Seems to possibly have that look, and when you combine that with the hyperphagic behavior, well... would you guys consider this as a possibility?

    Sorry if this has already been debated (or definitively answered by the kid's doctors).:)
     
  16. Miami_med

    Miami_med Moving Far Away
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    I understand. I was the fat kid until 10th grade myself. Of course, the modern mantra of child rearing essentially teaches parents not to control their children as some sort of tribute to self esteem, so it isn't a surprise that this comes with unintended consequences.
     
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