7 May 2012
Supersized Children: A Blind Form of Child Abuse
Childhood obesity is a form of child abuse and act of neglect that directly correlates to poor parenting and lack of attention to young children’s diets. Furthermore, fast food advertising agencies should be just as guilty of child abuse as some parents, due to the fact they specifically market cheap, harmful, and unhealthy foods to today’s youth. Additionally, the government is partially to blame for kindergarten through 12th grade aged kids becoming morbidly obese because of the bill that Obama passed called, The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The three groups of adults previously listed above have direct affects on children’s dietary habits and all play an active role in morbidly obese youth. Poor parenting, fast food companies, and the government are all to blame for the rising obesity rates in the United States; however, should these three groups of people with power be facing charges of child abuse or neglect? Should children who are forced to eat unhealthy food for lunch in public schools have to suffer lifelong health issues because of poor decisions made by adults, over which they had no control? There are many health risks associated with being morbidly obese at a young age. According to L. J. Lloyd, being overweight as a child can lead to the risk of developing adult metabolic syndrome. The adult metabolic syndrome is a multiplex risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The studies in which Lloyd and his partners conducted have shown that overweight youth are more likely to develop the disease; however, there are some areas that remain unclear and question the relationship. One particular study which Lloyd researched at Nottingham University stated, “the four papers that considered metabolic syndrome as an end point, none showed evidence of an independent association with childhood obesity” (Lloyd 2). Interestingly, these four studies found no direct correlation between obese youth and adult metabolic syndrome, although, other studies have shown a direct correlation when adult body mass index (BMI) was not adjusted. On the other hand, when adult BMI was properly adjusted, the majority of the studies found an extremely low association between childhood obesity and adult metabolic syndrome. Although this particular study disputes the correlation of childhood obesity and adult metabolic syndrome, there are many who still argue the correlation exists. The adult metabolic syndrome is only one of many health risks morbidly obese youth face, there are a plethora of others as well, one of which is pre diabetes. The BMC Medical Informatics sates that children who develop pre diabetes from being overweight at a young age will develop Type 2 diabetes later in life, thus resulting in a lifelong health concern to overweight children, and ultimately becoming a form of child abuse. Child abuse can mean many things. One of the most significant is the act of neglect to a child’s diet by parents. Many will argue that childhood obesity is not a form of child abuse; however, a 219 pound third grader falls under the category of neglect. There is absolutely no reason why a child should weigh in at 219 pounds at such a young age. The reason for this particular child being overweight begins with the parent’s inattention to their child’s diet. A young child’s diet should be monitored consistently by their parents and all children should be living a healthy and active lifestyle. A healthy diet and physical activity ultimately rest in the hands of their parents, due to the fact, they are too young to weigh these decisions themselves and need as much guidance as possible in their younger years.
The 219 pound third grader from Cleveland, OH, whose name remained anonymous, was taken from his mother by child welfare officials due to his obesity rate. This constitutes child abuse in the form of neglect....