UK Social Workers Removing Obese Kids From Parents

The United Kingdom is concerned about the widespread problem of obesity among children. Social workers in England increasingly find that children being fed a high-fat, sugary diet, which can be bad for their health. The phenomenon is known as "killing with kindness" because the child wants the unhealthy food and a loving parent feels unable to say no. Experts say that there is a need to make more complex decisions in care proceedings. A family's uncultured over-eating can lead to them losing their children, writes Matthew Davis of Sunday Express.

According to a survey of councils by Sunday Express, five children in the past year were taken from their families who overfeed them, including two in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, one in Oxfordshire, one in Salford and one in Hounslow, London. In the last 12 months, five similar cases were reported in Sheffield, Portsmouth, Lincolnshire, Slough and Harrow, London.

A social worker said: "Only in extreme cases would we take a child into care just because of their weight as we would seek to work with the family to improve their eating habits."

In 2006, former Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson warned that children will be removed from their families if they became super-sized, risking their health. Health chiefs would look at family eating behaviors.

In 2007, an eight-year-old girl from Cumbria was taken into care. She had to wear size 16 clothes, and was taken into care weighing 10 stone.

Recently-released figures from hospitals in England also uncover the nation's obesity problems. According to the statistics, there were 356,072 individual care sessions in 2012 where the patient was deemed to be suffering from obesity or an illness or injury that could have been brought on by being too fat.

Separate figures from hospitals show a 10-fold increase in obesity-related cases in the past 10 years and a sharp surge in fat-fighting operations, such as gastric banding, on the NHS.

The data on hospital care, by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show women are twice as likely as men to be seen for health problems related to obesity. The average age of such patients is 53.

In last five years, 45 youngsters aged 17 or under were having fat-fighting operations, according to Conservative MP Priti Patel. She said that the there is an obesity crisis, and the councils and the government should team up to resolve it.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "England has one of the highest rates of obesity in the western world and it causes dangerous and life-limiting health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

"But this is not just a matter for Government. We look to industry, health professionals and voluntary groups to work jointly to help individuals improve their diet and lifestyles."

Under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law, calorie information should be displayed on vending machines. According to the Food and Drug Administration, displaying calorie information on roughly 5 million vending machines nationwide would help consumers make healthier choices, according to CBS NewYork.

12 29, 2013
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