I like it when I can feel my creative juices flowing. I can literally feel my creative juices oozing out of my ear right this inst – OHMIGOSH!!! IT’S BLOOD…no wait…(whew)… It’s alright. No one panic! It was just jelly from the donut I had this morning.
I’m kind of torn with how to write today. This story annoys me on SO many levels, I’m not sure where to start. But there is a little itsy bitsy part of me that almost, but not entirely, can sorta see the point of view of the “nanny state.”
Recently in the Cleveland Heights, Ohio area an 8-year old boy was taken from his family and put into foster care after county case workers said his mother wasn’t doing enough to control his weight. He tipped the scales at 218 lbs. Apparently last year (2010) county officials became aware of the child after his mother took him to the hospital with breathing problems. He was diagnosed with sleep apnea (which can be weight related), and given a machine to help monitor his breathing. Other than the sleep apnea, and the fact the boy is over 200 pounds, he is a perfectly normal elementary student. He is on the honor roll and participates in school activities.
Now, on the one hand, the boy is WAAAAY too fat. I know it’s not politically correct to be blunt like that, but over 200 pounds, are you kidding me? The average weight of an 8-year old is 60 pounds. This boy is 218. I’m sure the county case workers mean well, if the boy was malnourished or abused, I can see the state stepping in. So you can almost see the justification on the state “helping”. The big difference is, in the cases of malnutrition, or abuse, there is imminent danger (the phrase “imminent danger” is a fancy way of saying “Ohmigosh the boy might die!!! CALL 911!”). In this case the state stepped in because the health issues the boy MIGHT get (note the fancy use of italics on the word “might”).
Really? The government feels it can intervene because of health issues that MIGHT happen?
I read two articles on this subject. In the first one it quotes a Dr. Naim Alkhouri, who works with overweight children at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, as saying, “There’s no easy answer when it comes to determining who’s to blame in such obesity cases…It’s not only the parents or the child,” he said. “Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. As a society we’re all responsible.”
Is it just me, or did everybody just throw-up a little bit?
I live six states away from the large child. How am I responsible?
Now, I’m not judging this mother, or her child. In the second article it explains how the boy has a teenage brother who is tall and skinny. Maybe he has a chemical imbalance, or another biological problem. The boy is on the honor roll. As a father I can tell you that the honor roll doesn’t just happen. I would think the mother isn’t neglectful. Still the state felt it necessary to rip the child out of his mother’s arms. She is only allowed to see him once a week, for two hours.
Arthur Caplan, a professor of medical ethics said, “A 218-pound eight-year-old is a time bomb, but the government cannot raise these children. A third of kids are fat. We aren’t going to move them all to foster care. We can’t afford it, and I’m not sure there are enough foster parents to do it.”
The second article also said, “Others suggest there’s hypocrisy in a government that would advocate taking children away for being overweight while saying it’s OK to advertise unhealthy food and put toys in fast-food kids’ meals.”
There we go!!! Problem solved.
We could either advocate personal and parental responsibility, or we could outlaw toys in fast-food meals. I say we pry the toys from their fat little fingers. After all, that would be soooo much easier then parenting.
The problem with government interference is where does it stop? I’ve been told the first law Germany passed against the Jewish people before World War II was they weren’t allowed to swim in public pools with “Aryan” people. Now before you get your panties in a wad, I am NOT comparing the Cuyahoga County workers with Nazi Germany. I’m just saying it starts small.
Recently, San Francisco was considering banning circumcision. They argued it is painful. That may be true. I know after my circumcision I couldn’t walk for almost two years (oh wait, I was a baby), but it was my parent’s decision. It doesn’t matter if they did it for religious, health, or cosmetic reasons; the point is, it was their decision, their business, not anyone else’s and certainly not the governments’. Would San Francisco take boys from their parents for following their religion?
I don’t mind the government encouraging healthy life choices, I don’t mind their coming out with cute little food pyramids, or letting us know important nutritional information. I just feel the government shouldn’t impose on families.
I have the right to pursue happiness according to the dictates of my conscious. If my fat little kids and I want jelly donuts for dinner every night that is our business.
The government should stay out of it.