Last week Harvard obesity specialist David Ludwig advocated putting children in temporary foster care when the child is found to be obese. The obvious conclusion being, that in his opinion, allowing your child to get to the stage of obesity equates to a form of child abuse.
I don’t agree with this statement or the measures advocated by Mr. Ludwig. And more importantly I think the debate will distract rather than positively influence what is a very important issue. I appreciate the words of Dr. Arthur Caplan, the director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania who wrote:
“I am not letting parents off the hook,” he wrote in response to the article, “but putting the blame for childhood obesity on the home and then arguing that moving kids out of homes where obesity reigns is the answer is short-sighted and doomed to fail. We need the nation to go on a diet together and the most important places to start are the grocery store, schools and media.”
My only query on the above quote is why he omitted “home”. Surely “home” is the most important place to start a change of habits. Not just in what is eaten, but how food is eaten. It is sad to hear of the demise of family dinners. Surely the television and computers can be switched off for half-an-hour every evening.