(#60) Government Overreach–OR Keeping Parents Accountable?

One of the chapters in my book Choices for College Success (Pearson, 2011) provides a broad view of the six dimensions of life (social, occupational, spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional). Titled “Treating Yourself with Respect,” its premise is that we have to care for all aspects of our being for a balanced life.  When we discuss this chapter in class, part of our discussion addresses nutrition, exercise, and general physical fitness.  Pretty basic stuff–at least for some of us. We spend some time looking at dietary labels and nutrition numbers for some typical fast food menu items.  We also look at a couple of video clips concerning obesity; one of which addresses childhood obesity.  Invariably, my students shake their heads, let go with a “tsk-tsk-tsk,” and generally agree that this epidemic in our country is costly in dollars, lost potential, and lives.  Yes, there may be medical and pharmaceutical reasons for obesity, but in so many cases it appears to be a case of too many calories in and not enough time on the treadmill. The students are almost all of one mind on this conclusion.


Video recommendation for the week:

A look at obesity and one approach to deal with its consequences.


The last few semesters I have posed this situation to my classes: If a child is obese, should the parent be arrested for child abuse?

Whoa!  Does that get them talking!  The responses are all over the road. From “You bet! The parents definitely negligent.”  To: “That is no business of the government!”

Last week, an article titled “Should Parents Lose Custody of Super Obese Kids?” (by Lindsey Tanner  http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_MED_OBESE_KIDS_CUSTODY?SITE=KYB66&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT), reported that the Journal of the American Medical Association said “putting children temporarily in foster care is in some cases more ethical than obesity surgery.”

(You may find this video clip of interest as well.http://youtu.be/bSj9d1P72sc   While it is not connected to the news article, it is connected to the topic.)

So the questions this week are:

  • ·         Is this (taking an obese child from his/her parents) appropriate or would this be considered government overreach?
  • ·         Is this (obesity) any different than any situation in which a child is neglected or abused?
  • ·         Or more simply, if a child is obese should the parent be held accountable? If so, how? If not, why not?

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© 2011. Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s Blog.

 

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9 Responses to (#60) Government Overreach–OR Keeping Parents Accountable?

  1. Mark L says:

    I am glad the government has stepped in and made our schools across the country change their menus in schools. The obesity rate in the United states is 33%. Thats why the parnets should be responsible too and start teaching kids like schools about good eating habits. In the long run it will lower there insurance by eating healthy and keep them out of the hospital. If not your body is going to be like a stick of dymatic ready to go off at any time. It is easier to do prevent than react afterwards. Practice good eating habits and exercise. The price of good eating habits is priceless

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  2. Pingback: A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2011 in Review « Steve Piscitelli's Blog

  3. Reginald T. says:

    Childhood obesity is real high in america today, obesity affects about 17 percent of all children in the United States. We as parent should monitor the calorie intake that our kids eat on a daily basis. Because some kids are very young with high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, so as a parent let’s save our children they are our future.

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  4. alma hernandez says:

    Obesity is an excessive fat in child’s body. In my standing, I don’t think government should overreach the keeping of the child, instead, it is the parents who should be accountable on their child’s obesity. Parents were the one who take care their kids. They are the one who monitor their kids in their everyday living. Parents were the first teacher of the kids. It is the parents who are suppose to educate the children the negative effects of being obesity. They are the one who can give a big help to their children not to become obese. From giving them healthy food and by leading them to have a daily exercise by walking or riding a bike around the neighborhood, once or twice a week. This is a nice habit with the children to help them grow healthy and happy rather than experience the negative effects of obesity.

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  5. KYLA CORNISH says:

    After reading this I quickly found his problem. The problem was he gets tired quick and he just want to be happy. I do feel that the parent is responsible. I will explain. Sometimes the parent don’t care enough and sometimes the parent care too much. I don’t have kids. For some people who do they will let the child do anything to keep them calm. Thats not caring. Others want their child to love them so much again they will do anything to make their child happy. That would be not saying the word No enough. Some households should put that word back in the home. When he says he is tired, don’t let him give up. Say No im the parent and you will listen to me. Who envies a person who is heading in the direction of deceit. He wants to be happy but he lacking the things he need to complete his happiness. Be affirmative. If when the baby is born the doctor should be able to let you know if your baby is being overfed. A sport would be nice when the child is young. Its not that a person being obese bothers me. What gets me is how they react when they first find out. Continuing to do what they been doin or saying No. Stop spoiling kids. I worked as a child. My work was chores. I had to clean up for 3 or 4 bucks. When you go out and a child craves candy. Pop the child hand and let them know no means no. They causing a scene oh he crying. Im not saying its wrong to love your child but don’t pamper. Don’t let them think its ok to be obese or roll on the floor for candy or be 3,4,5, and want to be held. Just think about it. Goodluck to this guy. I hope he keep making changes. -Kyla

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  6. chriyana says:

    Reading this article I believe all this is a problem. I Do believe obesity is a problem, but, i dont believe the parents have to be punished. Some parents do not intentionally try to make their child obese and do not have the knowlege on losing weight because the parent has struggled with weight as well. I believe that there should be more options for parents to get knowlege about weight and food addiction so they could help themselves and their child.
    -Chriyana

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