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Parents of obese child are arrested for neglect

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#1 Amanda

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:05 AM

From BBC News:

A couple have been arrested by police on suspicion of cruelty and neglect of their obese child.
A 49-year-old man and a 44-year-old woman, from King's Lynn in Norfolk, were questioned by officers over the child's care and released on bail.

Police said intervention at this level was "very rare" and only occurred where other attempts to protect the child had been unsuccessful.
A spokeswoman added police were working with health and social services.

The Sun reported the couple's 11-year-old son is 5ft 1in (1.5m) and 15 stone, with a body mass index (BMI) of 41.8.
It alleged concerned teachers and doctors prompted intervention by social services and then police.


Full story - BBC News

What do you think about situations like this? If the sole neglect issue here is the child's obesity, were the police right to arrest the parents, and at what point should the authorities get involved?

#2 Demon!Dean

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:09 AM

i have mixed feelings on this, because they couldn't definitively say it was abuse. It could be an unknown health issue causing weight gain. Maybe if the child was on a certain kind of medicine, to treat mental illness, like risperidone, which can cause serious weight gain. Who knows to be honest.


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#3 Vesper

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:10 AM

i have mixed feelings on this, because they couldn't definitively say it was abuse. It could be an unknown health issue causing weight gain. Maybe if the child was on a certain kind of medicine, to treat mental illness, like risperidone, which can cause serious weight gain. Who knows to be honest.

 

Fairly sure this would have been figured out before the arrest. 

 

From the article it suggests the family has been under surveillance for a while. 



#4 Demon!Dean

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:16 AM

 

Fairly sure this would have been figured out before the arrest. 

 

From the article it suggests the family has been under surveillance for a while. 

True. I think they should look into it more before making a conclusive decision. 



#5 Hermione

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:28 AM

Depends on the individual situation. Of course a child being obese isn't enough for their parents to need to be arrested on its own, but if it's an extreme case where they've refused to follow advice that authorities have given them and their child's health is at serious risk if their diet doesn't change then it might be necessary. As to whether it was necessary in this case it's hard to know without knowing the exact details. I doubt such an extreme step would be taken if they hadn't already tried everything else or if the parents were at all willing to cooperate though.



#6 Zack.

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:36 AM

Of course a child being obese isn't enough for their parents to need to be arrested on its own


He has a BMI of 41. That is really fucking high.

 

5'1" and 200 pounds is beyond enough.



#7 Amanda

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:37 AM

If there is no underlying medical reason for a child to become obese to the point that it threatens health, it does make you wonder if a parent makes a conscious decision to continue overfeeding that child. Or could it be an extreme case of "being in denial".

#8 wood

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:38 AM

As someone who gained a ton of weight because of a lack of parental intervention and a nudge to get outside, I am all for this. I would have people in my family arrested for letting me get as large as I did. I had to, literally, work my ass off for three or four years to get where I am now. I wish that burden on no man or woman.

 

It's your responsibility, as a parent, to guide the health of your child and to provide them with an environment that doesn't harbor horrible habits.


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#9 Hermione

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:39 AM

He has a BMI of 41. That is really fucking high.

 

5'1" and 200 pounds is beyond enough.

Yeah, but they'd never just arrest parents because they found a child to be that weight, they'd give them advice and work with them to change it. They'd be arrested for failing to cooperate with the advice, not for the fact he was that weight in the first place. Which I think is right really, if they're willing to do everything they've been advised to help their child then all that's needed is being monitored by social services to make sure they stick with it.



#10 Zack.

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:46 AM

Yeah, but they'd never just arrest parents because they found the child to be that weight

They probably wouldn't but they certainly should.

 

Maybe if he had a BMI of, say, 30 - the minimum to be considered obese - advice would be enough. But 200 pounds isn't just "whoops, guess we should have payed more attention", it's a clear case that his health was completely ignored. And now an eleven-year-old needs to worry about losing a hundred pounds so he doesn't die before he's thirty.


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#11 Hermione

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 07:57 AM

They probably wouldn't but they certainly should.

 

Maybe if he had a BMI of, say, 30 - the minimum to be considered obese - advice would be enough. But 200 pounds isn't just "whoops, guess we should have payed more attention", it's a clear case that his health was completely ignored. And now an eleven-year-old needs to worry about losing a hundred pounds so he doesn't die before he's thirty.

If the parents were ignorant about what to feed him and let him get that big, but then accepted everything they were told when social services stepped in, totally changed the child's diet and started exercising and following all advice etc, with regular visits from a social worker to check up on them, so that the child lost the weight and got healthy, why would they need to be arrested? Totally understandable if they weren't willing to cooperate or if there were other factors at play other than ignorance about health but if they were willing to cooperate fully and there weren't other factors then I don't see the benefit.



#12 inthehallwaynow

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:28 AM

i should be put to death by firing squad for what ive done to my boday


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#13 Sarcasm

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:29 AM

He has a BMI of 41. That is really fucking high.
 
5'1" and 200 pounds is beyond enough.

are those numbers from something specific? The 5.1 200 pounds. To me that sounds like overweight

#14 Zack.

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:37 AM

are those numbers from something specific? The 5.1 200 pounds. To me that sounds like overweight

Yes, from the article? I don't know exactly what you're asking but Google BMI if you don't know what it is. From 25-30 is overweight, from 30-39 is obese, and anything above 40 is morbidly so.



#15 Sarcasm

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:46 AM

Yes, from the article? I don't know exactly what you're asking but Google BMI if you don't know what it is. From 25-30 is overweight, from 30-39 is obese, and anything above 40 is morbidly so.

I didn't read the article, it just seemed like you were saying that if you're 5 foot 1, then you can "stop growing" at 200 pounds :P

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#16 Sofouska

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 08:52 AM

As it's been mentioned above, if the parents had been told to feed their child better before and didn't follow the advice, then the authorities' decision to proceed to an arrest was right. 

If a child was deprived of food we wouldn't even discuss this, just because the opposite is happening doesn't mean that it's right and the parents are not to blame. Letting your child gain extreme weight can cause serious health problems.


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#17 Lady Nightlife

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 11:50 AM

I'd love to hear the parents' explanations for this level of neglect. I just don't know how any parent could ignore the counsel of medical health professionals regarding the well-being of their child to the point where protective services are called??



#18 Kayfabe

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:34 PM

True. I think they should look into it more before making a conclusive decision. 

I think that's what Briony is saying -- by the looks of the article these parents have been looked into, out of, and all around.

 

are those numbers from something specific? The 5.1 200 pounds. To me that sounds like overweight

They're from the article. And I don't know what to tell you except that's massively overweight -- he weighs significantly more than a good portion of grown men.


i should be put to death by firing squad for what ive done to my boday

I know you're saying this in jest, but seriously - what you do to your body =\= what custodians of a dependent child to to that child's body. 

 

 

I'm glad they're being charged with neglect because this is exactly what it is.



#19 Morrissey.

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:49 PM

It's cases like this that reinforce my belief that people should have to have some kind of license before they're allowed to have kids. If everything we know about this story is true, I'm all for the arrest. It's really quite shocking, and not only does this kid now have all this weight to lose, but he's probably going to need extensive counselling to teach him that everything he's ever been taught (or not taught, rather) about his health and how to look after himself is completely wrong. I grew up with parents who didn't know there was fat in cheese or that fish is good for you until I was 18, and that was enough of a shock to me in itself. 



#20 Lady Nightlife

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 12:55 PM

^ I disagree with the licensed parents idea. Strongly. To all intents and purposes I was completely unfit to be a mother when I got pregnant, but my child is turning out fine (so far. Check back when she's 15 :P ) On the flip side, I know a person who was in a picture perfect nuclear family and who was abused horrifically by her father. There's really no way to know whether a parent deserves a child until after they've had the child.


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#21 captain peroxide

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:01 PM

Tom, that idea is ok at first glance, but it breaks down the more you think about it. Who decides the criteria for people to pass that test? How is it administered? You have similar processes for driving a car, but there are laws associated with that. The vast majority of raising a child is making decisions. It's not illegal to raise your child as a fundamentalist Christian, but that may be seen as disgusting by someone else. It's not illegal to teach your kids about sex, but someone might consider that morally wrong. What would stop the people in charge of that decision from making it illegal to teach kids about things they didn't agree with? Free flow of information would be destroyed in a couple of generations.
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#22 Kayfabe

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:11 PM

It would essentially boil down to eugenics at the end of the day. And even intelligent, well off parents that would likely be the first ones approved for a license like this could easily end up being the sociopathic type that would give their child enough mental abuse.

 

 

Besides, your life is not predetermined by your upbringing. I can point you to enough "celebrity rags to riches" stories to tell you that.


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#23 Morrissey.

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:18 PM

Well yeah. Obviously it's a very idealistic idea and I'm under no illusions that it'll ever happen or anything. And the reality of it would probably be very "North Korean," so to speak. It's not like I've even thought it through in a way that could be implemented. It's just that there are so many stories of being being such shitty parents, and no doubt many, many more that go completely unreported for whatever reason, that I just have to wonder what can be done. People think it's an automatic right to have kids, and I don't think it should be, because some people clearly don't deserve them and have them for completely selfish reasons, or have them without putting any thought into it and then fuck up badly. If people have them by accident and they turn out to be awesome parents then that's great, but it's not really what I'm talking about.

 

Maybe I'm just biased because if I'd had the choice I wouldn't have let my parents have kids.



#24 Amanda

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:21 PM

There are so many possible contributing factors to situations like this. It's possible that the parents have their own issues with food, and let us not forget how cheap it is to eat crap and how expensive healthy food can be (at least in the UK). You'd have to feed a child large quantities of crap for them to have that kind of BMI, though.
I'm not making excuses for anyone, ultimately the parents are responsible for a child's well-being.

#25 ­­rootbeersoup

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:29 PM

It's cases like this that reinforce my belief that people should have to have some kind of license before they're allowed to have kids.


Why does Britain love big brother so much?
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#26 Morrissey.

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:43 PM

Why does Britain love big brother so much?

What is Britain? I know only of Airstrip One.



#27 captain peroxide

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:46 PM

It's just that there are so many stories of being being such shitty parents, and no doubt many, many more that go completely unreported for whatever reason, that I just have to wonder what can be done.


That's the illusory truth effect, though. You're more likely believe something because you're exposed to it a lot. You only hear about shitty parents so much because you're not supposed to be shitty to your kids, and those stories get a disproportionate amount of attention in the media.

It's the same as plane crashes. Every time a plane crashes, there's something about it in the news, and it gives rise to the idea that planes are unsafe. But when you examine the statistics, there are hundreds of thousands of flights every year that go off without a hitch. Meanwhile, there are thousands of car crashes every day, but they rarely get much coverage purely because they're so common, so they end up being perceived as safer overall than planes, even though that isn't the case.
 

No one's collecting data on all the good parents out there, and as we've already stated, even deciding what constitutes a good parent is a spectrum at best. Of course there are a lot of shitty parents out there, but there's no reason to assume there's more than there are good parents, and as Kay said, even kids raised by shitty people can be awesome in their own right. Sometimes simply having the new responsibility of a child can cause someone to turn their life around. You simply can't predict it.


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#28 Morrissey.

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:51 PM

That's the illusory truth effect, though. You're more likely believe something because you're exposed to it a lot. You only hear about shitty parents so much because you're not supposed to be shitty to your kids, and those stories get a disproportionate amount of attention in the media.

It's the same as plane crashes. Every time a plane crashes, there's something about it in the news, and it gives rise to the idea that planes are unsafe. But when you examine the statistics, there are hundreds of thousands of flights every year that go off without a hitch. Meanwhile, there are thousands of car crashes every day, but they rarely get much coverage purely because they're so common, so they end up being perceived as safer overall than planes, even though that isn't the case.
 

No one's collecting data on all the good parents out there, and as we've already stated, even deciding what constitutes a good parent is a spectrum at best. Of course there are a lot of shitty parents out there, but there's no reason to assume there's more than there are good parents, and as Kay said, even kids raised by shitty people can be awesome in their own right. Sometimes simply having the new responsibility of a child can cause someone to turn their life around. You simply can't predict it.

You have a point; I've used that kind of argument on my mum countless times, because she's convinced everyone that ever leaves the house gets stabbed. Unfortunately I'm not even exaggerating there. I don't doubt that the majority of parents at least do a passable job, but doesn't the sheer number of reports of crappy parents at least make the proverbial you think?



#29 Zack.

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:52 PM

I think parenting licenses are a great idea. I've taken the liberty of coming up with a rough draft of the exam.

 

ibZbUPB.png


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#30 captain peroxide

 
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Posted 06 June 2014 - 01:54 PM

You have a point; I've used that kind of argument on my mum countless times, because she's convinced everyone that ever leaves the house gets stabbed. Unfortunately I'm not even exaggerating there. I don't doubt that the majority of parents at least do a passable job, but doesn't the sheer number of reports of crappy parents at least make the proverbial you think?

 

Not really. But I tend to see good in people more often than not, so who knows.


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