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Child obesity, parental responsibility, and neglect. watch

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    To begin with I'd like to quote from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the UK ratified 16th December 1991.

    Article 19: Protection from abuse and neglect

    1. States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

    2. Such protective measures should, as appropriate, include effective procedures for the establishment of social programmes to provide necessary support for the child and for those who have the care of the child, as well as for other forms of prevention and for identification, reporting, referral, investigation, treatment and follow-up of instances of child maltreatment described heretofore, and, as appropriate, for judicial involvement.
    Also, lifted from the NSPCC website:

    For the purposes of the child protection system, the Department of Health defines neglect as:

    ‘the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. It may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, failing to protect a child from physical harm or danger, or the failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs’. (Department of Health et al, 1999, p. 5).
    Obesity in the western world is rampant. The UK is suffering along with other countries and data from the IASO shows that in 1999 it was estimated that 22% of children aged around 10 were obese. Given the extreme health dangers obesity can pose, clearly it is a serious matter. Ultimately parents are responsible for the diet of their child, and the amount of physical exercise they take. It is a simple conclusion then that a parent who lets their child become obese is guilty of neglect. Whether the child is obese purely to poor lifestyle or for medical reasons the failure to act is neglect as it has been defined above.

    I now postulate that social services should have their duties expanded to include intervention with childhood obesity as a form of parental neglect. Parents should be well aware of the dangers of obesity and currently the obesity epidemic is out of control. The state is currently unwilling to intervene for the good of the child, perhaps fearful that such an idea would be unsavory for the public to consume. I don't believe that any changes to law would be required for social services to assume this new responsibility and I firmly believe that given the desperate situation we have found ourselves in, perhaps this will be the most effective tool we have readily available to us to combat the problem.
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    Its not simple as that obese people eat more than the average sized person and thats why they are obese. There are genetic factors, metabolic factors, psychological factors etc that need tobe taken into consideration. You specifically say 'neglect' - what about over-parenting, being too giving into what the child wants.
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    Don't forget that obesity is technically a disease. I was one of those little fat kids in my early years of high school. There is just something about my metabolism. Basically my body says to me. "Tristan, I want you to do 45 minutes of hard aerobic exercise every day or I'm going to make you a fat *******." Eating the right foods in the right quantities just doesn't work for me. I have to a)eat right and b)exercise more than most people just to stay in some sort of shape. If I ever wish to have that perfect trim and toned body, my doctor has told me that I'm going to have to spend a few hours of each day exercising. Whether it be 30km bike rides (I do 10km at the moment) and a good run, or a good run and hundreds of starjumps.

    Basically. Please don't make the mistake of assuming obesity to be parental neglect.
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    (Original post by JnA)
    Its not simple as that obese people eat more than the average sized person and thats why they are obese. There are genetic factors, metabolic factors, psychological factors etc that need tobe taken into consideration. You specifically say 'neglect' - what about over-parenting, being too giving into what the child wants.
    Giving in to the child can be neglect too, you've misunderstood what child neglect is.

    (Original post by Sire)
    Don't forget that obesity is technically a disease. I was one of those little fat kids in my early years of high school. There is just something about my metabolism. Basically my body says to me. "Tristan, I want you to do 45 minutes of hard aerobic exercise every day or I'm going to make you a fat *******." Eating the right foods in the right quantities just doesn't work for me. I have to a)eat right and b)exercise more than most people just to stay in some sort of shape. If I ever wish to have that perfect trim and toned body, my doctor has told me that I'm going to have to spend a few hours of each day exercising. Whether it be 30km bike rides (I do 10km at the moment) and a good run, or a good run and hundreds of starjumps.

    Basically. Please don't make the mistake of assuming obesity to be parental neglect.
    I think you've both jumped to conclusions about what I've said. Obesity has more than tripled since the 1980s, are you seriously suggesting that we've had a genetic mutation that has caused the obesity epidemic?

    Of course not.

    Naturally, some people suffur from genetics that make them overweight. But most do not. There have always been obese people, the only reason we've experienced such an increase in obesity is because of neglect, primarly due to poor parenting skills. I'm not going to blame a parent if their childs metabolism is a bit faulty (although, the parent is obliged to seek medical help for their child), much like I wouldn't blame a parent if their child had cancer. I suppose a suitable analogy might be that thousands of parents have started smoking down their childrens throats from an early age and now they all have lung problems.
 
 
 
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