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Parents of obese children be prosecuted with neglect

If a child is malnourished it is classed as child abuse but if I child is obese the parents are rarely blamed. This discrepancy makes little sense when the health risks faced by obesity are indisputable. Researchers claim that being over weight greatly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, bowl cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease in adulthood. Parents who over feed their children should be held accountable for the medical and emotional problems that obesity can create.

All the Yes points:

  1. Obesity costs the NHS millions of pounds each year
  2. Parents need to understand what constitutes as a healthy lifestyle
  3. Ignoring the countless warnings about the dangers surrounding obesity is neglect and neglecting a child is a prosecutable offence
  4. Yes, excercise is FREE.
  5. Dont blame the food.
  6. Its not in the genes.
  7. In the genes ?

All the No points:

  1. Children can access food without their parents knowledge
  2. Exercise takes time and costs money
  3. Some study’s suggest that obesity may be more linked to your genes than your lifestyle

Obesity costs the NHS millions of pounds each year

Yes because…

Children become obese through a lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet. By prosecuting the parents of obese children you force them to change their children’s lifestyles. Children who exercise and eat healthily are more likely to remain healthy throughout life and are therefore less likely to suffer from illness’s in adulthood. Weight related illness currently costs the NHS millions of pounds each year.

No because…

Prosecution could be damaging for the child. If they are aware that their parents are in ‘trouble’ because they are overweight, this could cause psychological problems for the child. Feelings such as guilt, worthlessness and an unhappy body image may occur. These could last well into adulthood and are far more difficult to rectify than a weight problem.

Nearly all of weight related illness occurs during adulthood, when it is the responsibility of the overweight person to take action upon their own bodies. Whilst parents can influence and encourage children to pick up healthy eating habits, they cannot be held accountable later in life when the children have grown up. By this point they must take responsibility for themselves.

We should be educating and helping families not punishing them. Blame is very unproductive and solves nothing. We need to understand the origins of the child’s weight problem in order to gain better understanding, enabling the parent to help their child, not punish them.

It can not be clearly proven that a child’s weight problem is entirely down to nurture over nature therefore there is no clear evidence which would allow prosecution to occur.

Parents need to understand what constitutes as a healthy lifestyle

Yes because…

By intervening and warning parents that they are causing their children great harm, the parents will have to comprehend that they are part of the problem and can get help understanding what constitutes as a healthy lifestyle. If they refuse to acknowledge the problem then they should be prosecuted.

No because…

It is very difficult for parents to understand what precisely is meant by a healthy diet and therefore we should not consider parents to be the prominent cause of harm.

Products can easily be marketed as healthy by using wording such as ‘honest’ and ‘reduced fat’. It can be very easy for parents to believe they are doing the right thing by buying ‘reduced fat’ snacks. Mass corporations need to take responsibility for the obesity crisis as they manipulate a parents view of healthy. Therefore parents may find it difficult to understand what constitutes as healthy and may have already acknowledged their child has a problem which they do not know how to resolve.

A better solution would involve mass corporations portraying a true, unified understanding of a healthy diet.

Ignoring the countless warnings about the dangers surrounding obesity is neglect and neglecting a child is a prosecutable offence

Yes because…

Nowadays there are so many warnings about the dangers of obesity that if a parent ignores these warnings it is out of choice. If a parent ignores any danger that could affect their child’s health then they are guilty of neglect and should be prosecutable offence.

From experience, I can say that the problem is not as much ignoring the warnings as it is a failure to control the child. Parents are not so ignorant of the medical maladies because they do see and hear the warnings. But many parents are unable to deny their children. They see the obesity as less threatening than the possibility of losing the “affection” of the child. Parents typically do not want to be the “bad guy” who must enforce the rules of positive values and will, in more cases than not, allow the child to maintain a poor diet and eat too often. I am the stepfather of a mildly autistic male who is now 20 years old and roughly 380 lbs. I’ve seen this played out in person and I can confidently state that, until this allowance of bad vaules is changed, this problem will run even more rampantly. If parents are unwilling or simply unable to make the necessary changes then, perhaps it is time for the legal system to step in…they would if the child were being physically abused. I maintain that the outright allowance of obesity and its many maladies IS physical abuse and should be dealt with appropriately.

No because…

Although there are warnings for the dangers, a parent may not necessarily be ignoring these but rather they do not know how to implement changes (see above).

It is a very black and white portrayal to say that an overweight child is a sign of neglect. There are numerous factors which contribute to a child’s weight which are not a result of parental neglect.

Firstly, children spend up to half of their days at school. The food choices that they make during this time are not down to the parent but the child themselves. Even if a parent provides a healthy packed lunch, the child may choose to swap items, or to supplement the lunch with items from vending machines.

Schools too then need to take responsibility for the health of children as they are in charge of them during the day.

The child may also be in the care of a child minder after school, and may even have their evening meals here. Whilst the parent can try their best to guide the child minder on what to feed them, if they can not be there it is out of their hands.

Yes, excercise is FREE.

Yes because…

Excercise is free in the cities as well as the country side. There are the streets and parks and canals. From the time you open your door it is free walking, skipping…..however you wish to do it….no charge and the results are rewarding. It is an abuse to childhood not to introduce them to this.

No because…

Dont blame the food.

Yes because…

A lot of lazy parents blame food when it was never a problem years ago when pie n mash and fry ups and fish n chips were the staple diet, and to which contained more calories than a big mac or mc donalds. Why do people blame something else instead of themselves. Get them out walking or playing instead of feeding them while they play on a video or pc game. Refrain from giving them lifts everywhere, let them walk. Stop doing EVERYTHING for them, let them do it themselves so they learn also, otherwise it is a form of abuse.

No because…

Its not in the genes.

Yes because…

It is not in the genes unless possibly because the parents have always been fat. It was never an issue til about 30 yrs ago when parents started to get lazy, and in so doing allowed the kids to eat when and what they wanted without any form of excercise. One child I knew was driven everywhere and when not at school his meals and snacks were taken to him in his bedroom where he played on games all day and night. What sort of life is that ? it is abuse and it is happening in too many households. There was only one fat person at my school because we walked everywhere and played outside.

No because…

In the genes ?

Yes because…

How can fat be in the genes ? it was never in the genes before ask your parents and their parents, it was rare to see a fatty at school. It is down to being idle and innactive. Idleness of the fatty and idle of the parents is the problem. How come it was never an issue until now after thousands of years ?. Just bone idleness.

No because…

Children can access food without their parents knowledge

No because…

Children do not understand the repurcussions of over eating and find ways to get food even if their parents have forbidden it. Parents have little control over what their children eat at school and some children take food in the middle of the night. Is it feasible to be able to watch your child 24-7???????????? Yes if you were more interested in them.

Yes because…

children can also dispose of their lunch(either by induced vomiting or by throwing it in a trashcan) without their parents knowledge. That does not make it any less of a parental responsibility.
Sometimes; it is the job of parents to make it their business.

Exercise takes time and costs money

No because…

It is difficult for parents to find the time and money to exercise their children. Sports teams and clubs charge joining fee’s and their are also travelling costs if you do not live in an area with appropriate facilities. Working parents may also find it hard to find the time to exercise their children after a hard days work and it may not be safe to let children exercise alone.

Yes because…

This point makes children sound like the pet dog! If parents didn’t have the means or time to care for their children and let them live a healthy lifestyle then they should never have become parents. There are many easy ways to excercise, just like walking to school, or going to a local park for a kickaround.

Some study’s suggest that obesity may be more linked to your genes than your lifestyle

No because…

It is indisputable that not everyone has the same body shape and frame. We genetically inherit many of our physical features and obesity may also be genetically inherited. Therefore it is not right to prosecute a parent who despite providing a healthy lifestyle has an overweight child.

Yes because…

Those studies have been refuted with more recent research that proves that eating habits are the main true cause of obesity at any age. ????????????????? eating habits with no excercise yes but there was more calorise in bread and dripping and fish and chips than there is in a mcdonalds,fact. Folk do not walk anywhere now, they do very little now so eat through bordom. A fit person can eat MORE than an obese person because they burn it off, fact, and proven myself personally. It is not the food it is idleness.

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5 years ago

You can be genetically fat, there are predisposed conditions that can cause you to be fat. In addition to that there was a study done with two identical twins that lived in different households and ate different diets yet still were around the same weight this goes to show that genetics do play a role in child obesity. Charging parents with obese children neglect would be like charging parents for passing on bad genes to their children. I do agree that in some cases it is neglect to get children proper nutrients but even then economic situations play a role. Like if you walk in to whole foods, a very expensive but healthy grocery store, you don’t see many fat people at all but if you walk into CVS you see a large majority of overweight people. In some cases there are things parents could change like if they only work for a set amount of time they could increase the time they work so they could buy better food. Another case that parents could be charged with neglect is if they have the money to buy good food but they choose to buy less healthy food. That is a choice that they made and are responsible for. In conclusion I think that there shouldn’t be a blanket policy either way but it is an issue that could use a lot more deliberation.

Rick Astley
3 years ago
Reply to  maddie

That was longer than the research essays that we used to do in school.

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