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Obseity and the Child Protection Register

The links is to a good article on Community Care where a GP argues:
There is no parallel between being underfed and overfed

Obesity cannot be connected with child abuse

According to David Rogers, public health spokesperson for the Local Government Association, "parents who allow their children to eat too much could be as guilty of neglect as those who did not feed their children at all".

The LGA's conviction that overweight children should become the subject of child protection procedures was reported under the headline "Fat children 'should be taken from parents' to curb obesity epidemic" (The Times, 16 August).

I first encountered this facile presentation of obesity as a form of child abuse at a case conference about a teenage girl some years ago. Social workers accepted that her parents were devoted and there was no hint of neglect. Nevertheless, they cited a case in the US in which authorities had been blamed for the death of a morbidly obese young woman and insisted that drastic action had to be taken.

I pointed out the inappropriateness of the parallel between the situation of an under-nourished and neglected infant and an overweight and pampered adolescent. In the former case, actual bodily harm is the direct result of parental abuse and is, at least in physical terms, readily susceptible to intervention. In the latter case, long-term risks to health are the result of a complex (and poorly understood) combination of factors, including the wider "obesogenic" environment - cheap, fast and fattening food, sedentary lifestyles, and so on - as well as the behaviour of the child and her parents.

(the rest is on the site)

The problem with the issues as to when to intervene is that they depend moreso on the personal views of the practitioners rather than any system of regulation where there are defined limits.

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R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

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KING’S BENCH DIVISION

R v SUSSEX JUSTICES ex p McCARTHY [1924] 1 KB 256

November 9 1923

Editor’s comments in bold.

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