Fat children => child maltreatment?

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Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Würtz » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:08 pm UTC

When you see an overweight child - do you think of it as maltreatment?

I'm talking about the kids that are 25+ kg overweight (really fat), not 2-10 (chubby).

Is that worse than neglect or other kinds of maltreatment?
It usually stays with them the whole life, just like physical or mental problems. And they die earlier than they should, with more problems in life...

[snip]

No.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Роберт » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:20 pm UTC

Certainly being grossly negligent with your child's health is a terrible thing. I'm also certain that a blanket statement of "any child who is fat is being maltreated by zir legal guardians" would be horribly wrong for many cases.

It's potentially a form of neglect.
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Wodashin » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:23 pm UTC

No. Unless they're force feeding the kids in order to make them as fat as possible for some weird, sick reason, no.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:22 am UTC

Not feeding your children healthy foods, which would lead to them being grossly overweight is certainly very poor parenting, whether it qualifies as maltreatment is going to be a thorny issue to discuss. I personally certainly think so. The negative consequences of being overweight in society, are pretty fucking huge.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Philosophish » Tue Oct 11, 2011 2:28 am UTC

Well, Feeding your kid unhealthy food counts as maltreatment IMHO, but the question becomes where the line lies between this maltreatment and the affiliation of the kid's body - basically: how can you know a kid is fat because of the food it gets instead of the way his body processes it?

I myself, for instance, eat more than four times as much as my father does on a daily basis; I eat breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Dinner and after midnight (sleeping issues.. ), and in between i snack a LOT, yet i haven't gained weight for years, nor do i have acne or any other bother that may be food related - oh and I do not do sports at all, aside from the occasional snowboarding, once or twice a year... all this while a guy from my college classes barely eats, goes to the gym 3 times a week, drinks tons of water, etc, etc, and still weighs 25 kg too much.

it's just too hard to draw said line.

though i do think a parent should at least make effort to diagnose the cause - whether they're it them selves or not. if a parent sees his kid getting fat and goes "he's still cute" and turns the TV to the next channel, then he is maltreating the kid.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Headshrinker » Thu Oct 13, 2011 4:27 pm UTC

Being fat is a serious problem. Letting your kids get fat causes them harm.
Not to say if your kid has some flab get them running twice a day, but if your kid gets fat don’t take them to McDonalds.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Metaphysician » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:28 am UTC

My diet growing up was very healthy. We were poor so we rarely ate fast food and almost never ate processed food and couldn't afford sweets or sugary cereals or soda (once a month as a special treat we would have Pizza with Soda if we could afford it). I was skinny until I went through puberty. Once I went through puberty, I gained a lot of weight even though I was active in sports (Practiced Hapkido four days per week from the age of 11-16. Played soccer my whole life through age 18.) So during Soccer season I would go from my two hour Soccer practice straight to my two hour Hapkido practice. I also practiced Soccer and Hapkido at home on the days I didn't have workouts. I was still fat (6'0", 240lbs). Now I am 26, my lifestyle is markedly less healthy. I am mostly sedentary and I don't eat very well. I'm still 240 lbs. Once when I was 20 I started working out because I was tired of being fat and not having a girlfriend. No matter how well I ate or how much I worked out, I never lost more than 10lbs (This was over the span of a year diligently watching my food and working out regularly).

TL:DR Some people are just fat no matter what, just like some people can be lazy asses that eat poorly and never exercise and are just skinny. You can't make assumptions just based on the fact that somebody is fat, well you can, if you're self righteous like that.
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby aoeu » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:32 am UTC

Metaphysician wrote:TL:DR Some people are just fat no matter what.

False. If you eat less than you consume energy either you will lose weight or mysteriously starve.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Magnanimous » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:38 am UTC

Headshrinker wrote:Being fat is a serious problem. Letting your kids get fat causes them harm.
Not to say if your kid has some flab get them running twice a day, but if your kid gets fat don’t take them to McDonalds.

Being unhealthy is a serious problem. Being fat is only a problem if it makes you unhealthy.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Metaphysician » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:45 am UTC

aoeu wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:TL:DR Some people are just fat no matter what.

False. If you eat less than you consume energy either you will lose weight or mysteriously starve.


Did you miss the part where I was fat even though I ate well and worked out a minimum of two hours per day (four during soccer season) for five years? I did not mysteriously starve and I was still fat. What about people that eat junk food and drink soda all day and don't do anything active and are still skinny? Do they really burn off the six or seven thousand calories they eat? How is it possible for them to be burning those calories and doing nothing and me to work out two hours per day on a 1500 calorie diet with little to no results?
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby aoeu » Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:49 am UTC

Metaphysician wrote:
aoeu wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:TL:DR Some people are just fat no matter what.

False. If you eat less than you consume energy either you will lose weight or mysteriously starve.


Did you miss the part where I was fat even though I ate well and worked out a minimum of two hours per day (four during soccer season) for five years? I did not mysteriously starve and I was still fat. What about people that eat junk food and drink soda all day and don't do anything active and are still skinny? Do they really burn off the six or seven thousand calories they eat? How is it possible for them to be burning those calories and doing nothing and me to work out two hours per day on a 1500 calorie diet with little to no results?

All I'm saying that you can't break the laws of physics.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Metaphysician » Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:47 am UTC

aoeu wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:
aoeu wrote:
Metaphysician wrote:TL:DR Some people are just fat no matter what.

False. If you eat less than you consume energy either you will lose weight or mysteriously starve.


Did you miss the part where I was fat even though I ate well and worked out a minimum of two hours per day (four during soccer season) for five years? I did not mysteriously starve and I was still fat. What about people that eat junk food and drink soda all day and don't do anything active and are still skinny? Do they really burn off the six or seven thousand calories they eat? How is it possible for them to be burning those calories and doing nothing and me to work out two hours per day on a 1500 calorie diet with little to no results?

All I'm saying that you can't break the laws of physics.


Well apparently I can, 'cause that's what I did.

Seriously what I was trying, not so subtly to do here, is to hint that people's bodies store and expend energy at different rates and thus some tend more toward fatness and some more toward skinniness. I am sorry that I didn't make that more abundantly clear in my post. I'll try to keep in mind that there are people around here that have a hard time with anything not meant to be taken absolutely literally.
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Aiea » Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:08 am UTC

There are a number of conditions that can make the body not process things correctly and cause individuals to be fat no matter how little they eat or how much they exercise. They are not breaking the laws of physics. And those conditions are really not a joking manner. It sucks to have them.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Torchship » Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:37 am UTC

Aiea wrote:There are a number of conditions that can make the body not process things correctly and cause individuals to be fat no matter how little they eat or how much they exercise. They are not breaking the laws of physics. And those conditions are really not a joking manner. It sucks to have them.


I believe the complaint was mainly directed at the absoluteness of the wording, not the concept that the wording was attempting to convey. No matter how screwy your metabolism is or how many conditions you possess, if you eat nothing for an extended period, then you must lose weight. Similarly, if you exercise almost 100% of your waking time, then you must also lose weight (assuming that your energy intake is sensibly low). The bolded statements, however, suggest otherwise, which is what I believe people were taking exception to.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:19 am UTC

Aiea wrote:There are a number of conditions that can make the body not process things correctly and cause individuals to be fat no matter how little they eat or how much they exercise. They are not breaking the laws of physics. And those conditions are really not a joking manner. It sucks to have them.


Dieting and nutrition can get complicated.

Regardless there is a fundamental truth, if you consume less calories than you use, you will lose weight. And if you consume more calories than you use then you will gain weight.

These conditions affect peoples hunger and appetite, through 'false' signals of hunger, encouraging them to eat more than they need.

Also its worth noting that the vast majority of us are not eating the foods that our bodies evolved on, that is foods that will produce good fit and healthy bodies. Pretty much universally people are eating too many grains. It is unsurprising then that our bodies are not coping well with a sudden shift in diet and as a result people are getting fat, well fat. Basically, eat healthy yo!

(Well I recognize that there are legitimate eating disorders, I think the vast majority of overweight people are blaming genetics instead of their piss poor diet)

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Tomo » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:05 am UTC

Aiea wrote:There are a number of conditions that can make the body not process things correctly and cause individuals to be fat no matter how little they eat or how much they exercise. They are not breaking the laws of physics. And those conditions are really not a joking manner. It sucks to have them.


It's been touched on above, but it's worth reinforcing; that just isn't true. Those conditions can make it harder for people to lose weight, definitely. If everyone ate the exact same food and did the exact same exercise there would still be a huge spread in weight / BMI / body fat percentage across different people.

But if you exercise a large enough amount, and eat a small enough amount, you will lose weight.
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby AvatarIII » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:15 pm UTC

I was a pig as a kid, always ate cakes, biscuits and chocolate, never ate my greens, always had seconds when available, often had adult sized portions, and I was always a really skinny kid until puberty, and even then I wasn't fat, just sort of stocky, and I was always very un-sporty, I hated sports, and I was totally unfit, but I wasn't heavy, I'm now 26, 6ft1 and I've never weighed more than 210lb, I weigh under 200lb at the moment, which yeah is overweight, but not critically so, and I have a broad frame,
I am a lot healthier now, I cycle for half an hour most days (15 minute cycle to/from work) and eat a few different types of vegetables although I still like and eat big portions and bad food,
if I put my mind to it, and eat really healthily and exercise more I can perhaps get down to 193 which isn't much less than my standard 197lbs, and it gets to the point where I eat so little I have no energy to exercise, or exercise so much I need to eat more, which prevents me losing any more weight.

Probably as far as food was concerned, I was maltreated as a kid, I was just lucky enough to not be fat because of it, in fact I used to find my fat peers ate much more healthily than I did, although thinking back on it, I definitely remember fat kids eating a lot, not bad stuff like rather than a single chocolate bar, they might have an apple, an orange and a granola bar. Perhaps it was the fact that I ended up eating less because I simply didn't like healthy food that made me skinny.

so perhaps it's not so much quality of food as quantity that makes kids fat, and if you are going to eat a lot, make sure it's bad stuff your body will want to reject :D

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Azrael » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:27 pm UTC

Believe it or not, your personal anecdotes with diet as a child and the resulting body mass are not particularly relevant to the topic. Everyone should feel free to stop sharing them.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:41 pm UTC

Obesity is one of those weird gray area's wherein government intervention is a little iffy. On the one hand, obesity costs taxpayers oodles of cash, on the other, it's harder to convince an individual that just one more cheeseburger or afternoon spent on the couch is going to make them / keep them in the problem zone. Same with their kids; if a parent doesn't see themselves as problematic, how are they going to see it in their kids?
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:40 pm UTC

It's a waste of time to consider it in a legal fashion as it would be difficult if not impossible to enforce, assuming that you could muster sufficient support to pass a law. However if you care about your children, you will control their eating habits until it becomes part of their "personality". There is no evidence that would support the idea that childhood obesity is reversible as an adult other than by surgical intervention in most cases. The only way to lose weight is to consume fewer calories than you take in. You can affect your basal metabolism by exercise which will affect how efficiently you use the calories you eat but you can't truly exercise off weight. There is also some indication the some mechanisms the body uses to control body weight are altered when you become obese which make it extremely difficult to maintain lost weight.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:46 pm UTC

Instead of legal sanctions for parents of fat children, I'd rather see money spent hypothetically prosecuting them spent building better parks and local athletic programs. Treat it like drug addiction: penalizing the addicts doesn't solve the problem, creating addiction clinics does.
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Game_boy » Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:02 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Instead of legal sanctions for parents of fat children, I'd rather see money spent hypothetically prosecuting them spent building better parks and local athletic programs. Treat it like drug addiction: penalizing the addicts doesn't solve the problem, creating addiction clinics does.


The kids who are already sporty are the ones that sign up for these programs. Do you mean some sort of law to make at-risk kids attend?
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:09 pm UTC

Citation needed. I started playing AYSO when I was 5. No one is sporty at 5. If you're claiming that 'non-active parents won't get non-active kids involved', that's a good point. Which is why the more accessible it is, the easier it will be for those kids to do something.
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby AvatarIII » Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:22 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Believe it or not, your personal anecdotes with diet as a child and the resulting body mass are not particularly relevant to the topic. Everyone should feel free to stop sharing them.


Without paediatric dietician training, anecdotes are all I, and probably a lot of us, have. I'm not arguing against your point, but the anecdotes have sort of proven that not every kid is the same and sometimes the way kids react to certain diets is actually counter-intuitive.

Is ignorance a type of maltreatment?

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby The Great Hippo » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:38 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:Is ignorance a type of maltreatment?
Poison lavished with loving ignorance kills just as swiftly as poison administered with cold hate. So yes, absolutely.

That being said, I think it's far more productive to focus on education and incentives for eating and living healthy rather than any punitive measures (which, as has been noted, would be unrealistic and unenforceable). Remember that the reason we oppose obesity in children is because it creates health risks; do we punish parents for other types of comparable health risks?

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Azrael » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:29 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote: Remember that the reason we oppose obesity in children is because it creates health risks; do we punish parents for other types of comparable health risks?

But the real cause is one layer deeper, isn't it? Society is trying to protect the child from some set of long term negative consequences that the child isn't necessarily capable of thoroughly analyzing yet. It's also part and parcel to that whole set of 'invest in the future' behaviors; it's an attempt increase broadly beneficial traits while decreasing potentially burdensome ones.

... which brings me to education. While I'd bet we all agree that parents who are highly involved in their children's eduction is an ideal goal, there are no broad suggestions that the semi-disengaged bottom quartile of parents are maltreating their child. [Disclaimer: Yes, there are some percentage who so actively harmful that their approach to education can be considered negligent]

Since 'maltreatment' is almost entirely a society-defined metric, childhood obesity really has to be weighed against how other behaviors are categorized.

And it doesn't seem to cross that bar.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Роберт » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:49 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Since 'maltreatment' is almost entirely a society-defined metric, childhood obesity really has to be weighed against how other behaviors are categorized.

And it doesn't seem to cross that bar.

I agree.

It's problematic and bad parenting, typically, as is neglect of an under-performing child's education. Or several other ways that parents fail to do what's best for their kids.
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby fr00t » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:44 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Since 'maltreatment' is almost entirely a society-defined metric, childhood obesity really has to be weighed against how other behaviors are categorized.

And it doesn't seem to cross that bar.


So maltreatment is defined as "parenting that is sufficiently negligent to warrant legal action"? I guess.

Obviously this is a tricky issue, but I'd hope we can all agree that allowing your young child to become obese makes you a shitty parent.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Magnanimous » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:24 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Citation needed. I started playing AYSO when I was 5. No one is sporty at 5. If you're claiming that 'non-active parents won't get non-active kids involved', that's a good point. Which is why the more accessible it is, the easier it will be for those kids to do something.

Also, forcing kids to do something like exercise is usually a great way to make them hate it. Especially if the parent is out of shape, since kids are particularly sensitive to hypocrisy.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:33 am UTC

Magnanimous wrote:Also, forcing kids to do something like exercise is usually a great way to make them hate it. Especially if the parent is out of shape, since kids are particularly sensitive to hypocrisy.

Children! They have no personalities beyond the opposite of what their parents want them to do!
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Azrael » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:23 am UTC

fr00t wrote:So maltreatment is defined as "parenting that is sufficiently negligent to warrant legal action"? I guess.

No. Society defines things in far more complex fashions than just what's passed by law.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby cazadoremi » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:02 am UTC

Spoiler:
Obesity in parents is directly related to obesity in children:
Looking at the long-term consequences, overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults, which increases to 80 percent if one or more parent is overweight or obese.


Obesity is an expensive and avoidable drain:
In 2000, the total cost of obesity for children and adults in the United States was estimated to be $117 billion ($61 billion in direct medical costs)

http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/child_obesity/

Increase in obesity is directly related to increase in caloric intake, specifically with carbs:

During 1971--2000, a statistically significant increase in average energy intake occurred . For men, average energy intake increased from 2,450 kcals to 2,618 kcals (p<0.01), and for women, from 1,542 kcals to 1,877 kcals (p<0.01)

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5304a3.htm

For people who keep giving anecdotes about working out but staying fat, check out this calculator for different exercises. Assuming your at-rest metabolism is less than average (say, 60-80 calories per hour) you need to be working out more than one hour per day if you eat anywhere near what an average Western person eats.
http://www.nutristrategy.com/activitylist.htm


Interesting? Maybe
Well cited? Absolutely
Relevant to the topic? Not really

Again, this thread is not about the underlying causes of obesity, childhood or otherwise.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby AvatarIII » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:03 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
AvatarIII wrote:Is ignorance a type of maltreatment?
Poison lavished with loving ignorance kills just as swiftly as poison administered with cold hate. So yes, absolutely.

That being said, I think it's far more productive to focus on education and incentives for eating and living healthy rather than any punitive measures (which, as has been noted, would be unrealistic and unenforceable). Remember that the reason we oppose obesity in children is because it creates health risks; do we punish parents for other types of comparable health risks?


(emphasis mine)

Exactly! my question was actually supposed to be rhetorical, but whatever. :lol:
my point was that you should counteract the ignorance, rather than stamp down against maltreatment,

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby charolastra » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:55 pm UTC

As many have said, it's such a gray area. I played 3 sports, lived in a neighborhood of really rough boys and played until the sun came down right along with them, and ate fairly well. So did my brother. I was a fat kid, he wasn't. There are many mitigating factors that even siblings who grow up in the same household can have radically different weights. I would have a hard time arguing that my parents be charged with child maltreatment or endangerment based on the weight factor alone.

When a 10 year old is 250 pounds - well, I don't know. Maybe the parent(s) do not know how to cook nutritious meals cheaply. Maybe they don't have the time or the energy to do it. Maybe they live on a busy road or unsafe neighborhood so the kids can't play outside. Organized sports are pretty expensive. Maybe there are social and neurological issues with the child that make it difficult to motivate him or her to be active and make the right choices. Maybe there are health issues or medications that cause weight gain (like my steroids that made me gain 40+ lbs during chemo despite eating a whole lot less). Ritalin and anti-depressants can cause weight gain - generally the decision is made that the benefits of those drugs (for better or worse) outweigh the negative side effects.

Or maybe they just feed the kid junk and let him sit on the couch.

There are SO many factors and without a thorough period of observation and check up, it can be difficult to tell.

There's also the whole overarching issue of food in general. Once you get over the access hurdles to fresh, unprocessed food (ie food deserts), you run into education issues about how to store and prepare the food. We all know we should eat fresh fruits and vegetables - but how often do we (ok, how often do I) waste money because we buy fresh produce and it goes bad before we get the chance to use it?

I do believe parents have a responsibility to educate themselves about nutrition and be on the watch for possible health issues that could cause weight gain with their children and discuss it with their pediatrician - but those resources can be very difficult to come by.

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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Роберт » Tue Oct 18, 2011 2:28 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Again, this thread is not about the underlying causes of obesity, childhood or otherwise.

Well, I would say that depending on the cause of the obesity, it could vary from recklessly negligent parenting, poor parenting, or just unfortunate for the parents. So causes do seem relevant to the discussion. I feel weird disagreeing with purple text but I know you can just delete this if you feel it's inappropriate; apologies in advance if it turns out that's the case.
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby mosc » Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:07 pm UTC

I'm sorry but I'm running into the same thing trying to join the discussion here. Isn't understanding the cause of obesity the central detail for discussing the relationship between obesity and parenting?
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby cazadoremi » Wed Oct 19, 2011 1:05 am UTC

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Last edited by cazadoremi on Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:16 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Wodashin
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Wodashin » Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:37 am UTC

Is forcing your fat child to work out and eat little (but not starving or harming them) maltreatment?

I say having a fat child isn't maltreatment. Not in the slightest. Not even close. I find this question ridiculous.

Of course, there are those who fret about using red pen and failing grades, so this is just so relative that it's hardly worth arguing over.

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mosc
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby mosc » Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:11 am UTC

I am reluctant to tell anyone how to parent unless the circumstance is extreme. If they want to put their kid on a strict diet, that's their call. If they want to let their kid swell up like a blimp and tell me it's none of my business, that's pretty much also their call in my book. Maybe being a parent made me more libertarian on that front but I view raising children as you see fit as a fairly basic human right. The child would have to be in clear danger to override that.

Now, if you want to talk about the examples of kids getting so fat that they can't get to the fridge or the bathroom and magically still getting fed astronomical calories a day to maintain that weight, that's a different story. Those people can go to jail for reckless endangerment IMHO.
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Partyr101
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Re: Fat children => child maltreatment?

Postby Partyr101 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:50 pm UTC

I personally believe it is not maltreatment unless its an extreme situation (like the child is morbidly obese and doesn't have any genetic problems that could cause that) simply because society is so fattening. Its a lot easier to buy foods that are high on calories and low on nutrients than to buy filling, healthy foods.


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