In the July 13, 2011, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Association endorses removing a child who is extremely obese from the home and placing them in foster care. Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, said
the point isn’t to blame parents, but rather to act in children’s best interest and get them help that for whatever reason their parents can’t provide.
More will be said about the “children’s best interest” later in this response.
The article went on to say
the government should be allowed to intervene in extreme cases.
With the government trying to intervene more and more into family life, the question arises who will determine what is an extreme case. Obviously, the research is quite clear on the physical implications and consequences of obesity; however, is removing the child from the home the solution?
In many cases, these obese children come from homes, which are living in poverty. Living within the help of food stamps and welfare, buying the most for the least becomes the issue in purchasing food. Therefore, a diet high in carbohydrates (rice, beans, fast food) becomes a solution to the budgetary constraints.
When considering the child’s best interest, I found the following personality issues surrounding the removal of the child from the home. The following issues come from www.e-how.com,
…the long- and short-term psychological damage can be detrimental to the child. The child could suffer from depression, separation anxiety, behavior disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Statistics from www.statehealthfacts.org states that Alabama ranks 36.1% in childhood obesity as compared to a nationwide rate of 36.6%. In Alabama, those who received Mental Health Care/Counseling of some type during past 12 months were 61.7% as compared to a national rate 60.0%. An astounding statistic is the percentage of high school students not meeting the recommended physical activity level. In Alabama that percentage is 63%, which is the same as the national statistic.
The Alabama Department of Public Health’s Worksite Wellness Division (WWD) and the Nutrition and Physical Activity (NPA) Division worked collaboratively on the We Can!® project. The WWD has provided annual health screenings and health education for state employees for more than 11 years and for public education employees for five years. The Department of Public Health extended its work with after school programs across the state by offering CATCH Kids Club and parent programs to augment nutrition and physical activity information. Alabama Department of Public Health described its partnership with the state education department as one of its strongest successes.
The Alabama Department of Public Health was able to recruit three partners to support its We Can! activities. Success by 6, a nonprofit United Way program, provided staff support, facilities, and participants for community events and programming. It also worked with local churches to coordinate snacks. The Department of Education partnered to provide nutrition and physical activity resources to its Extended Day/ Extended Year programs after school using We Can! programs and materials.
TheWe Can! Energize Our Families: Curriculum for Parents and Caregivers is a six-lesson curriculum developed specifically for parents and caregivers! In a fun and hands-on way, it teaches participants essential skills that help families make healthful food choices and become more physically active
CATCH Kids Club
The Alabama Department of Health worked with Clark Elementary to offer 34 children the CATCH Kids Club program during after school and summer sessions. Designed for children in grades K–5 in after school or summer-care settings, CATCH helps children adopt healthier dietary and physical activity behaviors by positively influencing the health environments of recreation programs, schools, and homes. The field-tested materials include an Activity Box with snack recipes and physical and nutrition activities.
Locally, Dothan City Schools have already implemented nutritional based meals for their public schools. It incorporates multi-grain breads, less fat and less sodium food items. At one school, a volunteer went to eat lunch with his granddaughter and took a bottled coke into the cafeteria with him. He was reprimanded by the kitchen supervisor and told he could not bring carbonated drinks into the lunchroom.
The whole family must be involved in developing a more active and healthier lifestyle. The parents must set the example by controlling their food portions, ensuring the meal is balanced, and being more active. The Wiregrass Commons Mall, in Dothan, opens at 6:00 a.m. and allows people to come in and walk before the stores open at 10:00 a.m. People are allowed to walk after 10:00 a.m., there are just more people to negotiate around. Parents could take their children to the mall and walk. Dothan also has several very nice and well-equipped play areas. Parents should control the amount of time a child spends in front of the TV and computer. Normally, just sitting around causes the “snack” urge to kick in. In addition, the idea that you have to join a gym to exercise is common. Leg lifts, arm lifts, waist bends can be done from a chair. Sit ups can be done by putting your feet under the couch and sitting up.