Childhood Obesity and Government Solutions

It seems like some of the solutions to childhood obesity would be fairly obvious.  Turn off the computer or game console and kick your kid outside to play.  Feed your kid healthy food.  While these solutions to childhood obesity seem to be self-evident, there are always reasons why these one size fits all solutions don’t fit everyone.

I read an article about how perhaps it’s time for government solutions to childhood obesity.  In particular, a Harvard professor is suggesting that it’s time to get CPS involved.  He’s suggesting that it’s more ethical to take the children away from their parents than to perform some sort of weight loss surgery (gastric bypass and the like).

It’s happened already.

Childhood Obesity and Government Solutions (Cloth Diaper Addicts)I have to admit that this makes me extremely uncomfortable.  On one hand, the United States is at the point of having a full blown childhood obesity epidemic.  Far too many kids now have gone beyond having “baby fat.”  These children are outright obese.  Sometimes they are morbidly obese.  There are health risks associated with those who are experiencing the childhood obesity epidemic for themselves.  High blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea… these are all things that are supposed to be adult health concerns that are often associated with an unhealthy lifestyle.  But our children are experiencing this.

We could play the blame game and decide who to criticize for the childhood obesity epidemic.  Really, though, that’s not terribly productive.  Rather than pointing fingers, steps must be taken to fight childhood obesity.  Some have decided that since children are not learning the right habits at home to fight childhood obesity, it’s time to move them to some place where they will through CPS.

There are cases of those who have been removed from their parents and placed with relatives or foster families… and it’s working.  I found somewhere (and darn if I can find it now) the story of a woman who lost the custody of her 400 pound son.  He ended up going to live with her sister and began losing weight.

According to Time Magazine, this idea of government intervention to fight childhood obesity is not just limited to the United States.  It’s happening in Canada and in the United Kingdom, too.

It’s generally being done as a last resort.

It’s being suggested that foisting these health risks of childhood obesity on their children is a form of abuse.  It’s being suggested that this is a social failing and not just a parenting one.

Maybe both sides are right.  Do you think that government agencies should intervene to solve the childhood obesity epidemic?  What kind of mandated interventions are appropriate?

To be continued in Failure to Prevent Childhood Obesity is On Parents?

Originally written July 28, 2011.  It seems that, if anything, the childhood obesity epidemic is getting even worse now.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Alix St.Amant says:

    I think it’s terrible that their is childhood obesity, but the government needs to stay the heck out of it.

  2. Wow, thank you for bringing light to this issue. I honestly have no idea what the solution to this epidemic is, and I wish I did. It saddens me so much when I see kiddos at my workplace (a hospital) who are morbidly obese and there is just nothing I can do 🙁

  3. Onica {MommyFactor} says:

    I do think both sides have valid points but Im not sure about having the gov take control. Better if they continue to find ways to work with and educate families

  4. Cat @ TOTS says:

    I suppose it is a form of child abuse if taken to the extreme. But as the mom of 1 pretty chubby and 3 not chubby kids, I don’t want anyone to question my parenting, as I parent them all and 1 just has different genetics.

  5. I think it’s a good thing that the government is taking some control over this. I do think their needs to be some guidelines before they do anything though. A child who is just a bit chubby is not abuse by any means. A child who is 400lb with a parent enabling them to be that way is child abuse.

  6. Sarah McKelvy says:

    The governments NEEDS to stay out of it. I think if a child is morbidly obese, there are deeper issues going on. Now, to get myself off the computer and clean before dd wakes up. 😉

  7. EdmundTay says:

    Over here in Asia, the government is expected to intervene to help…

  8. No. An adamant NO. I think our government has too much say so and their hands in too many things nowadays as it is. What’s the answer — honestly I’m not sure. Education is one way, though. Just keep educating parents on the health risks of childhood obesity.

  9. Autumn Eaton says:

    I agree with both sides, but the government has too much say in our lives now this will only make it worse. If a kid has a large parent and a small parent they are more likely to get the large gene. I ate healthy fresh veggies growing up, didn’t have video games we had bikes but I got the large genes from 1 side of the family now I struggle. If my kids inherets that, doesn’t mean I am a bad parent. Not sure a solution really, I do what I can to keep my kids healthy.

  10. I think that the government should removed the child as a LAST EFFORT. We all know feeding our kids McDonald’s and cheetos is unhealthy. So there’s no more need for education. We should all know it.
    Being fat can cause health issues. But there are times that a child can be fed everything right, but be overweight. We can’t force parents (especially who live below the poverty line) to pay for their child to do sports. And the parents who can’t afford to sports are also the parents who can’t take time off to go outside with their child and rely on daycares to do that.
    We live in a world that if you aren’t working hard enough or a stay at home parent, you’re a lazy person and not setting an example for your kids. If you can’t afford to put them in sports, you’re not working hard enough for them. If you can’t be home before 8 pm cause you work and then have to do errands, people ask when does your child eat and sleep.
    The world we live in is a judgmental one. But if a child is MORBIDLY obese and their life is on the line, then yes the government needs to save that life. If the kid has a little weight on them or is an older child (teen), I think that the parent and life will figure things out.

  11. Ashleigh Swerdfeger says:

    Its such a touchy subject. There seems to be many cases of actual neglect being ignored while parents who love their kids, but in the wrong way get their kids taken away. What we need is a social revolution. We need to honestly look at the impact of advertising. The examples we are for our children. Ecxercise doesn;t have to cost money. Parents should play outside with their kids. We need to ask why it costs less to purchase a hamburger than a salads. I agree, we live in a very judgmental world. We need to start being realistic and offer holistic, long term solutions.

  12. loved reading it. childhood obesity can be dealt with simple ways. like making your child play outdoors. be strict to them not to play video games all day. and eat healthy, healthy snacks. they do not need to go on diets to lose weight. but just engage in their life healthy habits that will help in weight loss.
    ways to prevent childhood obesity

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