Should Severely Obese Children be Placed under Protective Custody?

A recent article in JAMA suggested that children at risk for morbid obesity due to poor parenting may be candidates for state protective services.

A recent article in JAMA suggested that children at risk for morbid obesity due to poor parenting may be candidates for state protective services.

I wasn’t terribly surprised to hear on the news recently that an article published in the July 13,2 011, issue of JAMA finally proposed the argument that morbidly obese children would be best served if they were removed from a home environment in which parents failed to address the behaviors that perpetuated the problem. Nor was I surprised by the almost immediate negative response.

As with most issues, there are valid points on both sides, and I personally find myself on the fence. Just as malnutrition can have serious life-long repercussions for a child, so can over-nutrition. We would never condone leaving a child in an environment where they were starved to the point of risking death. Perhaps the time really has come to think about why we would leave a child in an environment where they are fed to the point of risking death. High blood pressure, sleep apnea and asthma, the inability to move comfortably, and type 2 diabetes are serious issues.

There appears to be a consensus that the obesity epidemic is driving the incidence of type 2 diabetes not just up, but sky high. And while the public discussion on the matter is becoming more serious, industry is betting against anything being done about the matter in the near future.

If you visit sites like MedGadget, Marketwire, Medscape, and others that report medical and biotech news, you can’t escape reading about the latest insulin pump or blood glucose monitoring device. Pharma has recently added to the market with linagliptin and rosiglitazone.

The Institute for Alternative Futures recently published a study (commissioned by Novo Nordisk) that forecasts the growth of the burden of diabetes across the US over 15 years. I encourage you to take a look and share it -- perhaps information like this will enable us to find the political will to address the issue on a national level and change the look of the graphic image presented for 2025.