In Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this week there was an article suggesting that over weight children be taken from their homes and placed in foster care when their weight becomes a health issue. While on the surface this is may seem like a good idea, get the child help for what could be a serious health problem and teach the parents about healthy eating and exercise. Win win right? Well if you think about it not so.
By removing the child from there home we may be creating more mental stress for the child and possible confusion for the parent, why was their child taken from them, what did they do wrong ect. If we give the parents classes on healthy eating and child raising why not reunite the family one would say. What if when reunited the child doesn't continue to lose weight or gains some back? Then do we take them from the home again. At what point do parents lose there rights and the child become eligible for adoption?
While it is a good idea to treat childhood obesity what if the family can not afford healthy food options. Should one tell others that due to the fact they can pay 3 dollars for a meal at McDonald's that they should be able to afford five dollars plus for a meal from the grocery store? Or should we tell people that if they can not afford to buy the healthy food for their children they should let them go hungry instead of buying cheep unhealthy food so the children do not have an empty stomach or get starved.
Where do we remove the blame from parents and start to accept partial blame as a society? We who have made foods that we shouldn't be eating so cheep as to not be able to not eat them if one is poor. For example a cheep healthy meal for a family of four would cost aprox. five dollars for a whole chicken, three dollars for veggies, three dollars for a starch, and two dollars for a fruit. Not to mention the four dollars to have a gallon of milk to drink with the meal or the four dollars to have a milk product at a meal. That comes out to about seventeen dollars a meal for the family. Take the family to a place where you can order off a dollar menu and you pay less as little as eight if every one drinks a free water or even four if the adults do not eat(assuming
there are two adults and two children). At most you could pay twelve dollars total allowing three dollars a person. The problem is this twelve dollar meal is loaded with fat and sugar.
When one looks at the cost of feeding the family one can see where the problem lies. Five dollars or more less to eat a sugar and fat filled meal vs a healthy one. A family on a very limited income could use the extra money to buy diapers or pay bills or any of the other expenses that came from daily living.
Maybe before removing children from a home lets look at what the situation is like that may be causing the child to have weight issues and fix that before separating a family.