Obesity = Child Abuse?

Connor McCreaddie, pictured with his mother above, is a pleasant 8-year-old boy who lives north of London. British authorities are so concerned about Connor's 218 pound weight that they are considering taking the child into protective custody unless mom "improves his diet." (

An unnamed health official was quoted as telling The Sunday Times that taking custody of Connor would be a last resort, but said the family had repeatedly failed to attend appointments with nurses, nutritionists and social workers.

"Child abuse is not just about hitting your children or sexually abusing them, it is also about neglect," the official was quoted as saying.

Child abuse? Now, I admit, I don't know all the details on this case (other than what is in this article). But, child abuse? I know that this boy is overweight. I would even agree with classifying him as clinically obese, but characterizing this as child abuse? I think that's a little of a stretch, don't you think?
Dr. Colin Waine, the director of the National Obesity Forum in Nottingham, England, called Connor's lifestyle "extremely dangerous," adding he is at risk of developing diabetes in his early teens, and cardiovascular and nervous system problems in his twenties. "He's really at risk of dying by the time he's 30," Waine said.

Pediatrician Dr. Michael Markiewicz agreed. "I'm not saying they can't care for him, but what they are doing is through the way they are treating him and feeding him, they are slowly killing him," he said.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am not endorsing this style of parenting (or lack of parenting). And, again, I have to give the disclaimer that I am not a parent myself. But, if childhood obesity equals child abuse leading to taking a child away from a parent, can you imagine the volume and amount of protective custody cases that would take place in the United States?

According to the Institute of Medicine, NINE MILLION children in the United States over six years old are considered obese. From what I understand, the foster care system is overloaded right now. To add another nine million children would add chaos to chaos.

One more thing to think about. What if childhood obesity was changed to childhood asthma? And, the childhood asthma was caused by secondhand smoke, say, from the parents? According to the American Lung Association, "An estimated 400,000 to one million asthmatic children have their condition worsened by exposure to secondhand smoke." Would you consider this child abuse? Are parents "slowly killing" their children as the pediatrician suggests above?

Sorry for the diatribe, but here's my point. Yes, this is an unfortunate situation for this young man. But, for the government to get involved in this situation is riduclous. There has to be another way to solve this other than to separate a mother from her son.

Update (3pm eastern time): Apparently British authorities have backed away from their position to try to remove Conner from his mother - For now...

I also posted a video blog on this same commentary. Check out my sidebar and click on the link to my livevideo site. Videoblogging is still tough, but a new challenge that I'm working on.