OAC Statement on the Impact of Obesity as a Factor in Child Neglect

Tampa, Fla., November 30, 2011 – Statement from Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) President and CEO Joseph Nadglowski:

“Today, there are more than 93 million Americans affected by obesity and one in three children is affected by childhood obesity. With the growing epidemic, reports of children being removed from their parents related to obesity are rare but becoming more common. The OAC encourages officials and the public to recognize the complexity of obesity before making determinations of parental neglect in such circumstances. The causes of obesity are numerous and much more complicated than child or parental behavior including societal, biological, genetic and environmental factors. In addition, the treatment of obesity, especially in children, is extremely complicated and made very difficult by the lack of effective treatment options, lack of knowledge by the medical community and lack of insurance reimbursement for such services.

Approximately 17 percent of children are affected by obesity and two million children affected by severe obesity. In
addition to the emotional turmoil of separating a child from their family, the practicality of removing these children from their homes and placing them in state care is not realistic and would ultimately drain already-depleted state budgets. It is also questionable whether state care services can provide a sufficiently healthy environment to reduce obesity. It is critical that any agency investigating these issues where a child’s health and wellbeing is in question due to their weight must objectively examine each case without bias or stigma toward the disease of obesity. Unfortunately, this is a difficult task as weight bias is extremely prevalent in today’s society in many settings, such as school, employment, healthcare, media and more. The removal of a child from their home, under any circumstances, is a delicate issue requiring careful unbiased consideration from all parties involved.

It is imperative that we, as a society, ensure that we are doing everything possible on all fronts in the fight against obesity, such as providing adequate and available healthcare, to make sure that America’s children are given the best quality of life possible before we begin deeming the disease of childhood obesity as parental abuse.”

About the OAC
The OAC is a National nonprofit charity dedicated to helping individuals affected by obesity. The OAC was formed to bring together individuals struggling with weight issues and provide educational resources and advocacy tools.

CONTACT: For more information, please contact James Zervios, OAC Director of Communications, at (800) 717-3117 or jzervios@obesityaction.org.



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