Posted by Deborah Pujoue on December 8, 2011
A recent story that I read online got me wondering just what constitutes abuse these days. You probably heard of it. It was about a kid in Ohio who was put into foster care after the state determined that his mother didn’t do enough to bring the kid down to a healthy weight.
An Ohio grade school child weighing 200lbs was taken from his mother’s custody because authorities felt that his mother didn’t do enough to help him lose weight, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. This article has sparked a whirlwind of controversy over whether the boy should be taken into custody. Comments below the article were full of people claiming that the mother was abusive in allowing her child to gain that much weight, while others were more understanding. According to the report, the child’s health was being monitored for a year. Initially, the monitoring showed the boy to be losing weight, but he eventually regained it all. This caused many to believe that the mother was useless in helping her son get healthy through diet and exercise. It is for this reason that the child was removed from her care.
As for the mother, she says that she participates in a “Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight,” program, and that her son is not in any immediate physical danger. She said, “‘they are trying to make it seem like I am unfit, like I don’t love my child. Of course I love him. Of course I want him to lose weight. It’s a lifestyle change, and they are trying to make it seem like I am not embracing that. It is very hard, but I am trying.’”
The mother believes that her other children were giving the boy some of the “bad food” that he was eating, causing him to gain weight. This is a very tricky conversation to get into since I do believe that there should be a limit to what amount of power the authorities have over parents; however, a 200lb third-grader is cause for alarm. Perhaps in this case, authorities should seek to help the mother, instead of punishing her and her child. I would like to get some feedback on this one. Tell me what you think: Should this child’s weight problem be viewed as abuse?