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Parents prosecuted for having fat children

I'm so inured to attacks on fat adults that they mostly only make me irritated these days, but this article in a Scottish news outlet suggesting that "parents of obese children should be prosecuted for neglect" (reported via Sandy Swarcz's JunkFoodScience blog here) makes me cry and feel frantic.

I'm not a parent and I'm not a fat child any more so why should I care? Because I imagine how much more terrified my parents would have been over my size (I was plump despite their sustained and intense efforts to make me thin) if they believed they could have had their child taken away, instead of "just" being shamed and pressured about having a fat child. Because I imagine what kind of life a fat child taken away from their family and raised in some kind of institution would have.

Although this is just some random doctor sounding off in a random news outlet, and there's no official legislation along these lines as yet, such government sanctioned kidnappings have been happening fairly regularly in the US. As a member of several fat acceptance organizations I hear about one every few months (when the parents seek help from the organization. I wonder how many parents don't seek help from the organization?). Sometimes I find out the outcome and sometimes not.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
dawnd
Jun. 13th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
Scary scary shit.

(hugs) to you.
dancing_star
Jun. 13th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
This idea scares me, exspecially since they aren't outlining when they should be stepping in. I was an over weight child and my mom tried all kinds of diets & excerise requirements to get me to loose weight and it never helped.
(Deleted comment)
michaelsullivan
Jun. 13th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
Wait, are you saying that this already happens in the US? That parents are presumed neglectful and children are taken as wards of the state against their will, just because the children are *fat*?

basketcaselady
Jun. 13th, 2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
I would be interested in some links to these ocurrances in the US.
elisem
Jun. 14th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)
Wow. thank you for linking to that. I had no idea.

This part really got me:

Ercy Burgess brought a petition from the parents of students at La Mesa Elementary School to family members waiting outside the courtroom.

"We're hoping that they (the court) listen to us because we have been around them (the family),"

"The parents and children at the school know Anamarie and her grandmother Margaret Martinez because Anamarie's 8-year-old aunt attends the school, Burgess said. The petition was topped with a short note that said in Spanish that the neighbors support the family and have never seen Anamarie eat anything not allowed in her diet. It also said she has been treated with special love and care. The signatures of 83 people followed on a few pieces of notebook paper. "She should be home with her parents and her grandparents," Burgess said.
mjlayman
Jun. 14th, 2007 11:28 pm (UTC)
I was a skinny kid, but I gained a lot of weight when I got sick (specifically, a bit more than half during the nine-month hospitalization for the first renal failure and a bit less than half during the six-month hospitalization for the second renal failure) and I weighed 346 at the doctor's today, but I get my heart and carotids scanned every year and they're fine. Just because you're fat doesn't mean your heart and circulatory system are a problem.

And in fact, there's some indication that obesity is virus-driven. There was another study this year that I can't find online that said the virus may be most transmitted in hospitals (which would explain my weight gain).
baratron
Jun. 22nd, 2007 12:55 am (UTC)
As this happened in 2000, I had to wonder whether anything else was found out - did the girl have a genetic condition? There's a bit of a followup here, although the 2003 link doesn't work. And there's an update from a random newspaper in 2005, with a longer version here. But there doesn't seem to be anything more recent.

I do think this is something of an unusual case, and the state were crazy to have focused solely on her weight when her height and other developmental characteristics were weird too. How can you compare the weight of an abnormally tall 3 year old child with other 3 year olds and expect it to be fair?
firecat
Jun. 14th, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
bastette_joyce
Jun. 14th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)
And don't forget about the woman in the Bay Area who actually went to trial after her 13-year-old daughter, who was very fat, suddenly died. I don't remember what the charges were, and in fact I'm wracking my brain trying to remember her name. It was all over the news at the time, which was around 1998 or '99, maybe. In the end, she was acquitted of the worse of the two charges, but convicted of the second. Pretty horrible.

...last name was Corrigan, maybe?
auntysocial
Jun. 14th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
The daughter's name was Christina Corrigan, I don't remember the mother's name.
baratron
Jun. 22nd, 2007 01:13 am (UTC)
Article from The Independent, with formatting mangled but readable.

Article by a fat physician.
firecat
Jun. 14th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
Yes, it already happens in the US.
porcinea
Jun. 14th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
Happens *all the time*. Shocking, innit?

Dakota Main.

Anamarie Martinez-Regino.

Arkansas House Bill 1583.

Kayla T. http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:HhIe6W0L32gJ:www.law.capital.edu/adoption/news_cases/news/Case_5_31.doc

And these are just the ones we hear about.
fatfu
Jun. 14th, 2007 05:34 am (UTC)
It's full-blown insanity. We have to care because fat kids can't defend themselves or understand what is happening to them. If the obesity epidemic is hard on us adult fatties, it's steamrolling the children.
sarahmichigan
Jun. 14th, 2007 11:14 am (UTC)
I have an idea how you feel. This, plus stuff Sandy S. has been posting about doctors trying to set up standards for meddling with how families deal with fat kids at the office really is getting my back up and making me want to cry, rage, do something.

As if fat kids aren't harrassed and put under the microscope enough as it is...
sashajwolf
Jun. 14th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
I know. I had to stop reading that report this morning, because I wasn't up to dealing with it. I feel so fortunate that our kids seem to be naturally thin, because it means I can let them eat as I think is right for them without worrying about someone in officialdom coming for them.
jillzilla
Jun. 15th, 2007 01:17 am (UTC)
It's very disturbing to hear of parents underfeeding even babies because they are afraid the children will get fat. And reading that children are being taught that only food with no fat and almost no calories is "healthy". And that providers of bariatric surgery are trying to make it common for children. This is as bad or worse than any of that.

When did the world turn into my subclinically anorexic mother?
firecat
Jun. 15th, 2007 07:05 am (UTC)
The only bit of all those things that I did not experience was the option to have bariatric surgery as a child. So it's not new by any stretch of the imagination...it's just louder.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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