I try to stay away from the phrase “witch hunt” when I talk about the current response to the nonexistent “obesity epidemic,” but sometimes it’s the only way to say what I mean. Yesterday’s post at Junk Food Science made today one of those times:
Two different news stories today reveal the struggles of parents trying to keep their children that the court system and social service officials want to take away. Their crime: the children are fat.
Both stories illustrate the costs to innocent children and their parents of prejudicial beliefs about the causes of obesity. One can only imagine what these parents and children have been through.
Here’s some detail on the first story, from New York State:
Though not “ideal,” a couple’s efforts to control the weight of their obese daughter were made in good faith and did not justify a county agency’s repeated removal of the girl from her parents’ custody, an upstate New York appeals court ruled Thursday.
In refuting the county’s contention that Brittany’s parents violated the order, the 3rd Department cited several instances where judges said Shawna T. and Robert T. had displayed extra diligence in caring for their daughter. In one instance, the parents drove 130 miles to attend regular meetings with their daughter’s nutritionist, the court noted.
The second story, from Canada, is less documented, but involves a custody battle, an anti-obesity activist with a financial axe to grind (are you surprised?) … and started when the twins in question were two years old!
At one point in the long-running custody battle, [Dr. Berall] told the court “consistently, with rare exceptions, the children lost weight under the care of their father and consistently gained weight, with rare exceptions, under the care of their mother.” Robert, the father, put forth a custody plan that gave him “sole responsibility for the children’s health care for the primary reason that he could enhance and direct the children’s ongoing weight-management program,” the judgment said. The mother, Lisa, argued against the father gaining full custody, saying that his approach to parenting was “his continuous attendances with the children on numerous medical reviews, weigh-ins and the administering of blood tests; combined with his continuous negative references to others and directly to the children that they are overweight, not normal and are ill and in danger of developing certain conditions or diseases.”
Great. Let’s give custody to the parent who constantly criticizes the children because, of course, he’s saving their lives.
If there are two, there are more, probably lot’s more.
Here’s the real question: How serious a health problem would obesity have to be to justify: 1) repeatedly pulling a child out of a stable home; 2) preferring to see two children with a critical, overbearing parent? A hell of a lot more serious than it actually is.